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Books  by  John  Dos  Passos 


Three  Soldiers 

One  Man's  Initiation 

Streets  of  Night 

(In  Preparation) 


Rosinante  to  the  Road  Again 


A  Pushcart  at  the  Curb 






Copyright,  1922, 
By  George  H.  Doran  Company 

A  Pushcart  at  the  Curb.  I 
Printed  in  the  United  States  of  America 




My  verse  is  no  upholstered  chariot 
Gliding  oil-smooth  on  oiled  wheels, 
No  swift  and  shining  modern  limousine, 
But  a  pushcart,  rather. 

A  crazy  creaking  pushcart,  hard  to  push 
Round  corners,  slung  on  shaky  patchwork  wheels. 
That  jolts  and  jumbles  over  the  cobblestones 
Its  very  various  lading: 

A  lading  of  Spanish  oranges,  Smyrna  figs, 
Fly-specked  apples,  perhaps  of  the  Hesperides, 
Curious  fruits  of  the  Indies,  pepper-sweet  .  .  . 

Stranger,  choose  and  taste. 



For  permission  to  reprint  certain  of  the 
poems  in  this  volume,  thanks  are  due  The 
Bookman,  The  Dial,  Vanity  Fair,  The 
Measure,  and  The  New  York  Evening  Post. 








PHASES     OF     THE     MOON                 .         .         .         .  185 



The  promiscuous  wind  wafts  idly  from  the  quays 
A  smell  of  ships  and  curious  woods  and  casks 
And  a  sweetness  from  the  gorse  on  the  flowerstand 
And  brushes  with  his  cool  careless  cheek  the  cheeks 
Of  those  on  the  street;  mine,  an  old  gnarled  man's, 
The  powdered  cheeks  of  the  girl  who  with  faded 

Stands   in   the   shadow;   a   sailor's   scarred   brown 


And  a  little  child's,  who  walks  along  whispering 
To  her  sufficient  self. 

O  promiscuous  wind. 



14'     '...*  WINTER    IN    CASTILE 


A  long  grey  street  with  balconies. 

Above  the  gingercolored  grocer's  shop 

trail  pink  geraniums 

and  further  up  a  striped  mattress 

hangs  from  a  window 

and  the  little  wooden  cage 

of  a  goldfinch. 

Four  blind  men  wabble  down  the  street 
with  careful  steps  on  the  rounded  cobbles 
scraping  with  violin  and  flute 
the  interment  of  a  tune. 

People  gather: 

women  with  market-baskets 

stuffed  with  green  vegetables, 

men  with  blankets  on  their  shoulders 

and  brown  sunwrinkled  faces. 


Pipe  the  flutes,  squeak  the  violins; 

four  blind  men  in  a  row 

at  the  interment  of  a  tune  .  .  . 

But  on  the  plate 

coppers  clink 

round  brown  pennies 

a  merry  music  at  the  funeral, 

penny  swigs  of  wine 

penny  gulps  of  gin 

peanuts  and  hot  roast  potatoes 

red  disks  of  sausage 

tripe  steaming  in  the  corner  shop  .  .  . 

And  overhead 

the  sympathetic  finch 

chirps  and  trills 


Calle  de  Toledo,  Madrid., 



A  boy  with  rolled  up  shirtsleeves 
turns  the  handle. 
Grind,  grind. 
The  black  sphere  whirls 
above  a  charcoal  fire. 
Grind,  grind. 

The  boy  sweats  and  grits  his  teeth  and  turns 
while  a  man  blows  up  the  coals. 
Grind,  grind. 

Thicker  comes  the  blue  curling  smoke, 
the  moka-scented  smoke 
heavy  with  early  morning 
and  the  awakening  city 

with  click-clack  click-clack  on  the  cobblestones 
and  the  young  winter  sunshine 
advancing  inquisitively 

across  the  black  and  white  tiles  of  my  bedroom 


Grind,  grind. 

The  coffee  is  done. 

The  boy  rubs  his  arms  and  yawns, 

and  the  sphere  and  the  furnace  are  trundled 

to  be  set  up  at  another  cafe. 

A  poor  devil 

whose  dirty  ashen  white  body  shows  through 

his  rags 
sniffs  sensually 
with  dilated  nostrils 
the  heavy  coffee-fragrant  smoke, 
and  turns  to  sleep  again 
in  the  feeble  sunlight  of  the  greystone  steps. 
Calle  Espoz  y  Mma 



Women  are  selling  tuberoses  in  the  square, 

and  sombre-tinted  wreaths 

stiffly  twined  and  crinkly 

for  this  is  the  day  of  the  dead. 

Women  are  selling  tuberoses  in  the  square. 
Their  velvet  odor  fills  the  street 
somehow  stills  the  tramp  of  feet; 
for  this  is  the  day  of  the  dead. 

Their  presence  is  heavy  about  us 

like  the  velvet  black  scent  of  the  flowers: 

incense  of  pompous  interments, 

patter  of  monastic  feet, 

drone  of  masses  drowsily  said 

for  the  thronging  dead. 


Women  are  selling  tuberoses  in  the  square 
to  cover  the  tombs  of  the  envious  dead 
and  shroud  them  again  in  the  lethean  scent 
lest  the  dead  should  remember. 

Difuntos;  Madrid 



Above  the  scuffling  footsteps  of  crowds 
the  clang  of  trams 
the  shouts  of  newsboys 
the  stridence  of  wheels, 
very  calm, 

floats  the  sudden  trill  of  a  pipe 
three  silvery  upward  notes 
wistfully  quavering, 

notes  a  Thessalian  shepherd  might  have  blown 
to  call  his  sheep 
in  the  emerald  shade 
of  Tempe, 

notes  that  might  have  waked  the  mad  women  sleep 

among  pinecones  in  the  hills 
and  stung  them  to  headlong  joy 
of  the  presence  of  their  mad  lacchos, 


notes  like  the  glint  of  sun 

making  jaunty  the  dark  waves  of  Tempe. 

In  the  street  an  old  man  is  passing 

wrapped  in  a  dun  brown  mantle 

blowing  with  bearded  lips  on  a  shining  panpipe 

while  he  trundles  before  him 

a  grindstone. 

The  scissors  grinder. 

Calle  Espoz  y  Mma 


Rain  slants  on  an  empty  square. 

Across  the  expanse  of  cobbles 

rides  an  old  shawl-muffled  woman 

black  on  a  donkey  with  pert  ears 

that  places  carefully 

his  tiny  sharp  hoofs 

as   if  the  cobbles   were  eggs. 

The  paniers  are  full 

of  bright  green  lettuces 

and  purple  cabbages, 

and   shining   red   bellshaped    peppers, 

dripping,  shining,  a  band  in  marchtime, 

in  the  grey  rain, 

in  the  grey  city. 

Plaza  Santa  Ana 



The  fountain  some  dead  king  put  up, 

conceived  in  pompous  imageries, 

piled  with  mossgreened  pans  and  centaurs 

topped  by  a  prudish  tight-waisted  Cybele 

(Cybele  the  many -breasted  mother  of  the  grain) 

spurts  with  a  solemn  gurgle  of  waters. 

Where  the  sun  is  warmest 

their  backs  against  the  greystone  basin 

sit,  hoarding  every  moment  of  the  palefaced  sun, 

(thy  children  Cybele) 

Pan  a  bearded  beggar  with  blear  eyes; 

his   legs   were   withered  by   a  papal  bull, 

those  shaggy  legs  so  nimble  to  pursue 

through  groves  of  Arcadian  myrtle 

the  nymphs  of  the  fountains  and  valleys; 

a  young  Faunus  with  soft  brown  face 


and  dirty  breast  bared  to  the  sun; 

the  black  hair  crisps  about  his  ears 

with  some  grace  yet; 

a  little  barefoot  Eros 

crouching  to  scratch  his  skinny  thighs 

who  stares  with  wide  gold  eyes  aghast 

at  the  yellow  shiny  trams  that  clatter  past 

All  day  long  they  doze  in  the  scant  sun 

and  watch  the  wan  leaves  rustle  to  the  ground 

from  the  yellowed  limetrees  of  the  avenue. 

They  are  still  thine  Cybele 

nursed  at  thy  breast; 

(like  a  woman's  last  foster-children 

that  still  would  suck  grey  withered  dugs). 

They  have  not  scorned  thy  dubious  bounty 

for  stridence  of  grinding  iron 

and  pale  caged  lives 

made  blind  by  the  dust  of  toil 

to  coin  the  very  sun  to  gold. 

Plaza  de  Clbeles 




and  the  leisurely  patter  of  rain. 

Beside  the  lamppost  in  the  alley 
stands  a  girl  in  a  long  sleek  shawl 
that  moulds  vaguely  to  the  curves 
of  breast  and  arms. 
Her  eyes  are  in  shadow. 

A  smell  of  frying  fish ; 

footsteps  of  people  going  to  dinner 

clatter  eagerly  through  the  lane. 

A  boy  with  a  trough  of  meat  on  his  shoulder 

turns  by  the  lamppost, 

his  steps  drag. 

The  green  light  slants 

in  the  black  of  his  eyes. 

Her  eyes  are  in  shadow. 


Footsteps  of  people  going  to  dinner 

clatter  eagerly;  the  rain 

falls  with  infinite  nonchalance  .  .  . 

a  man  turns  with  a  twirl  of  moustaches 

and  the  green  light  slants  on  his  glasses 

on  the  round  buttons  of  his  coat. 

Her  eyes  are  in  shadow. 

A  woman  with  an  umbrella 

keeps  her  eyes  straight  ahead 

and  lifts  her  dress 

to  avoid  the  mud  on  the  pavingstones. 

An  old  man  stares  without  fear 

into  the  eyes  of  the  girl 

through  the  stripes  of  the  rain. 

His  steps  beat  faster  and  he  sniffs  hard  suddenly 

the  smell  of  dinner  and  frying  fish. 

Was  it  a  flame  of  old  days 

expanding  in  his  cold  blood, 


or  a  shiver  of  rigid  graves, 
chill  clay  choking  congealing? 

Beside  the  lamppost  in  the  alley 
stands  a  girl  in  a  long  sleek  shawl 
that  moulds  vaguely  to  the  curves 
of  breast  and  arms. 

Calle  del  Gato 



A  brown  net  of  branches 

quivers  above  silver  trunks  of  planes. 

Here  and  there 

a  late  leaf  flutters 

its  faint  death-rattle  in  the  wind. 

Beyond,  the  sky  burns  fervid  rose 

like  red  wine  held  against  the  sun. 

Schoolboys  are  playing  in  the  square 
dodging  among  the  silver  tree-trunks 
collars  gleam  and  white  knees 
as  they  romp  shrilly. 

Lamps  bloom  out  one  by  one 
like  jessamine,  yellow  and  small. 
At  the  far  end  a  church's  dome 
flat  deep  purple  cuts  the  sky. 


Schoolboys  are  romping  in  the  square 

in  and  out  among  the  silver  tree-trunks 

out  of  the  smoked  rose  shadows 

through  the  timid  yellow  lamplight  .  .  . 

Socks  slip  down 

fingermarks  smudge  white  collars; 

they  run  and  tussle  in  the  shadows 

kicking  the  gravel  with  muddied  boots 

with  cheeks  flushed  hotter  than  the  sky 

eyes  brighter  than  the  street-lamps 

with  fingers  tingling  and  breath  fast: 

banqueters  early  drunken 

on  the  fierce  cold  wine  of  the  dead  year. 

Paseo  de  la  Castellana 



Green  against  the  livid  sky 
in  their  square  dun-colored  towers 
hang  the  bronze  bells  of  Castile. 
In  their  unshakeable  square  towers 
jutting  from  the  slopes  of  hills 
clang  the  bells  of  all  the  churches 
the  dustbrown  churches  of  Castile. 

How  they  swing  the  green  bronze  bells 
athwart  olive  twilights  of  Castile 
till  their  fierce  insistant  clangour 
rings  down  the  long  plowed  slopes 
breaks  against  the  leaden  hills 
whines  among  the  trembling  poplars 
beside  sibilant  swift  green  rivers. 

O  you  strong  bells  of  Castile 

that  commanding  clang  your  creed 


over  treeless  fields  and  villages 

that  huddle  in  arroyos,  gleaming 

orange  with  lights  in  the  greenish  dusk; 

can  it  be  bells  of  Castile, 

can  it  be  that  you  remember? 

Groans  there  in  your  bronze  green  curves 

in  your  imperious  evocation 

stench  of  burnings,  rattling  screams 

quenched    among   the    crackling   flames? 

The  crowd,  the  pile  of  faggots  in  the  square, 

the  yellow  robes.   ...   Is  it  that 

bells  of  Castile  that  you  remember? 

Toledo — Madrid 



The   Tagus   flows   with   a  noise  of  wiers  through 

The  speeding  dark-green  water  mirrors  the  old  red 

and  the  balustrades  and  close-barred  windows  of 

the  palace; 

and  on  the  other  bank  three  stooping  washerwomen 
whose  bright  red  shawls  and  piles  of  linen  gleam 

in  the  green, 
the   swirling   green    where   shimmer   the   walls   of 


There's  smoke  in  the  gardens  of  Aranjuez 
smoke  of  the  burning  of  the  years'  dead  leaves ; 
the  damp  paths  rustle  underfoot 
thick  with  the  crisp  broad  leaves  of  the  planes. 

The  tang  of  the  smoke  and  the  reek  of  the  box 
and  the  savor  of  the  year's  decay 


are  soft  in  the  gardens  of  Aranjuez 

where  the   fountains   fill  silently   with  leaves 

and  the  moss  grows  over  the  statues  and  busts 

clothing  the  simpering  cupids  and  fauns 

whose  stone  eyes  search  the  empty  paths 

for  the  rustling  rich  brocaded  gowns 

and  the  neat  silk  calves  of  the  halcyon  past. 

The   Tagus   flows  with  a  noise  of   wiers  through 


And  slipping  by  mirrors  the  brown-silver  trunks  of 
the  planes  and  the ,  hedges 

of  box  and  spires  of  cypress  and  alleys  of  yellow 
ing  elms; 

and  on  the  other  bank  three  grey  mules  pulling  a 

loaded  with  turnips,  driven  by  a  man  in  a  blue 
woolen  sash 

who  strides  along  whistling  and  does  not  look 
towards  Aranjuez. 



Beyond   ruffled  velvet  hills 

the  sky  burns  yellow  like  a  candle-flame. 

Sudden  a  village 

roofs   against   the    sky 

leaping  buttresses 

a  church 

and  a  tower  utter  dark  like  the  heart 

of  a  candleflame. 

Swing   the   bronze-bells 

uncoiling  harsh  slow  sound   through   the  dusk 
that  growls  out  in  the  conversational  clatter 
Of  the  trainwheels  and  the  rails. 

A  hill  humps  unexpectedly  to  hide 

the  tower  erect  like  a  pistil 

in  the  depths  of  the  tremendous  flaming 

flower  of  the  west. 




Genteel  noise  of  Paris  hats 
and  beards  that  tilt  this  way  and  that. 
Mirrors   create  on   either  side 
infinities  of  chandeliers. 

The  orchestra  is  tuning  up : 
Twanging  of  the  strings  of  violins 
groans  from  cellos 
toodling  of  flutes. 

Legs  apart,  with  white  fronts 
the  musicians  stand 
amiably  as  pelicans. 

Tap.  Tap.     Tap. 

With  a  silken  rustle  beards,  hats 

sink  back  in  appropriate  ecstasy. 

A  little  girl  giggles. 

Crystals  of  infinities  of  chandeliers 

tremble  in  the  first  long  honey-savored  chord. 


From   under   a  wide  black  hat 

curving  just  to  hide  her  ears 

peers  the  little  face  of  Juliet 

of  all   child  lovers 

who  loved  in  impossible  gardens 

among  roses  huge  as  moons 

and  twinkling  constellations  of  jessamine, 

Juliet,  Isabel,  Cressida, 

and  that  unknown   one  who  went   forth  at   night 

wandering  the  snarling  streets  of  Jerusalem. 

She  presses  her  handkerchief  to  her  mouth 
to  smother  her  profane  giggling. 
Her  skin  is  browner  than  the  tone  of  cellos, 
flushes  like  with  pomegranate  juice. 

.  .  .  The    moist    laden    air    of    a    garden    in 


spice  of  leaves  bruised  by  the  sun; 
she  sits  in  a  dress  of  crimson  brocade 
dark  as  blood  under  the  white  moon 
and  watches  the  ripples  spread 


in  the  gurgling  fountain; 

her  lashes  curve  to  her  cheeks 

as  she  stares  wide-eyed 

lips  drawn  against  the  teeth  and  trembling; 

gravel  crunches  down  the  path; 

brown  in  a  crimson  swirl 

she  stands  with  full  lips 

head  tilted  back  .  .  .  O  her  small  breasts 

against  my  panting  breast. 

Clapping.     Genteel  noise   of   Paris  hats 
and  beards  that  tilt  this  way  and  that. 

Her  face  lost  in  infinities  of  glittering  chandeliers. 




There's  a  sound  of  drums  and  trumpets 

above  the  rumble  of  the  street. 

(Run  run  run  to  see  the  soldiers.) 

All  alike  all  abreast  keeping  time 

to  the  regimented  swirl 

of  the  glittering  brass  band. 

The  cafe  waiters  are  craning  at  the  door 

the  girl  in  the  gloveshop  is  nose  against  the  glass. 

O  the  glitter  of  the  brass 

and  the  flutter  of  the  plumes 

and  the  tramp  of  the  uniform  feet! 

Run  run  run  to  see  the  soldiers. 

The  boy  with   a  tray 
of  pastries  on  his  head 
is  walking  fast,  keeping  time; 
his  white  and  yellow  cakes  are  trembling  in  the 


his  cheeks  are  redder 

and  his  bluestriped  tunic  streams 

as  he  marches  to  the  rum  turn  of  the  drums. 

Run  run  run  to  see  the  soldiers. 

The  milkman  with  his  pony 

slung  with  silvery  metal  jars 

schoolboys  with  their  packs  of  books 

clerks  in  stiff  white  collars 

old  men  in  cloaks 

try  to  regiment  their  feet 

to  the  glittering  brass  beat. 

Run  run  run  to  see  the  soldiers. 

Puerta  del  Sol 



Night  of  clouds 

terror  of  their  flight  across   the  moon. 
Over  the  long  still  plains 
blows  a  wind  out  of  the  north; 
a  laden  wind  out  of  the  north 
rattles  the  leaves  of  the  liveoaks 
menacingly  and  loud. 

Black  as  old  blood  on  the  cold  plain 

close  throngs   spread  to  beyond  lead  horizons 

swaying  shrouded  crowds 

and  their  rustle  in  the  knife-keen  wind 

is  like  the  dry  death-rattle  of  the  winter  grass. 

(Like  mouldered  shrouds  the  clouds  fall 
from  the  crumbling  skull  of  the  dead  moon.) 

Huge,  of  grinning  brass 
steaming  with  fresh  stains 


their    God 

gapes  with  smudged  expectant  gums 

above  the  plain. 

Flicker  through  the  flames  of  the  wide  maw 
rigid  square  bodies  of  men 
opulence  of  childbearing  women 
slimness  of  young  men,  and  girls 
with  small  curved  breasts. 

(Loud  as  musketry  rattles  the  sudden  laughter  of 
the  dead.) 

Thicker  hotter  the  blood  drips 
from  the  cold  brass  lips. 

Swift  over  grainless  fields 
swift  over  shellplowed  lands 
ever  leaner  swifter  darker 
bay  the  hounds  of  the  dead, 
before  them  drive  the  pale  ones 
white  limbs  scarred  and  blackened 


laurel  crushed  in  their  cold  fingers, 

the  spark  quenched  in  their  glazed  eyes. 

Thicker  hotter  the  blood  drips          £^ 

from  the  avenging  lips 

of  the  brass  God; 

(and  rattling  loud  as  musketry 

the  laughter  of  the  unsated  dead). 

The  clouds  have  blotted  the  haggard  moon. 

A  harsh  wind  shrills  from  the  cities  of  the  north 

Ypres,  Lille,  Liege,  Verdun, 

and  from  the  tainted  valleys 

the  cross-scarred  hills. 

Over  the  long  still  plains 

the  wind  out  of  the  north 

rattles  the  leaves  of  the  liveoaks. 

Cuatro  Caminos 



The  weazened  old  woman  without  teeth 
who  shivers  on  the  windy  street  corner 
displays  her  roasted  chestnuts  invitingly 
like  marriageable  daughters. 

Calle  Atocha 



The  clattering  streets  are  bright  with  booths 

lighted  by  balancing  candleflames 

ranged  with  figures  in  painted  clay, 

Virgins  adoring  and  haloed  bambinos, 

St.  Joseph  at  his  joiner's  bench 

Judean  shepherds  and  their  sheep 

camels  of  the  Eastern  kings. 

Esta  noche  es  noche  buena 
nadie   piensa  a   dormir. 

The  streets  resound  with  dancing 
and  chortle  of  tambourines, 
strong  rhythm  of  dancing 
drumming  of  tambourines. 

Flicker  through  the  greenish  lamplight 
of  the  clattering  cobbled  streets 
flushed  faces  of  men 


women  in  mantillas 

children  with  dark  wide  eyes, 

teeth  flashing  as  they  sing: 

La  santa  Virgen  es  en  parto 
a  las  dos  va  desparir. 
Esta  noche  es  noche  buena 
nadie  piensa  a  dormir. 

Beetred  faces  of  women 
whose  black  mantillas  have  slipped 
from  their  sleek  and  gleaming  hair, 
streaming  faces  of  men. 

With  click  of  heels  on  the  pavingstones 

boys  in  tunics  are  dancing 

eyes  under  long  black  lashes 

flash  as  they  dance  to  the  drum 

of  tambourines  beaten  with  elbow  and  palm. 

A  flock  of  girls  comes  running 

squealing  down  the  street. 


Boys  and  girls  are  dancing 

flushed  and  dripping  dancing 

to  the  beat  on  drums  and  piping 

on  flutes  and  jiggle 

of  the  long  notes  of  accordions 

and  the  wild  tune  swirls  and  sweeps 

along  the   frosty   streets, 

leaps  above  the  dark  stone  houses 

out  among  the  crackling  stars. 

Esta  noche  es  noche  buena 
nadie  piensa  a  dormir. 

In  the  street  a  ragged  boy 

too  poor  to  own  a  tambourine 

slips  off  his  shoes  and  beats  them  together 

to  the  drunken  reeling  time, 

dances  on  his  naked  feet. 

Esta  noche  es  noche  buena 
nadie  piensa  a  dormir. 




The  old  strong  towers  the  Moors  built 

on  the  ruins  of  a  Roman  camp 

have  sprung  into  spreading  boistrous  foam 

of  daisies  and  alyssum  flowers, 

and  sprout  of  clover  and  veiling  grass 

from  out  of  the  cracks  in  the  tawny  stones 

makes  velvet  soft  the  worn  stairs 

and  grooved  walks  where  clanked  the  heels 

of  the  grave  mailed  knights  who  had  driven  and 


the  darkskinned  Moors, 
and  where  on  silken  knees  their  sons 
knelt  on  the  nights  of  the  full  moon 
to  vow  strange  deeds  for  their  lady's  grace. 

The  old  strong  towers  are  crumbled  and  doddering 

and  sit  like  old  men  smiling  in  the  sun. 


About  them  clamber  the  giggling  flowers 

and  below  the  sceptic  sea  gently 

laughing  in  daisywhite  foam  on  the  beach 

rocks  the  ships  with  flapping  sails 

that  flash  white  to  the  white  village  on  the  shore. 

On  a  wall  where  the  path  is  soft  with  flowers 

the  brown  goatboy  lies,  his  cap  askew 

and  whistles  out  over  the  beckoning  sea 

the  tune  the  village  band  jerks  out, 

a  shine  of  brass  in  the  square  below: 

a  swaggering  young  buck  of  a  tune 

that  slouches  cap  on  one  side,  cigarette 

at  an  impudent  tilt,  out  past  the  old 

toothless  and  smilingly  powerless  towers, 

out  over  the  ever-youthful  sea 

that  claps  bright  cobalt  hands  in  time 

and  laughs  along  the  tawny  beaches. 





How  fine  to  die  in  Denia 

young  in  the  ardent  strength  of  sun 

calm  in  the  burning  blue  of  the  sea 

in  the  stabile  clasp  of  the  iron  hills; 

Denia  where  the  earth  is  red 

as  rust  and  hills  grey  like  ash. 

O  to  rot  into  the  ruddy  soil 

to  melt  into  the  omnipotent  fire 

of  the  young  white  god,  the  flamegod  the  sun, 

to  find  swift  resurrection 

in  the  warm  grapes  born  of  earth  and  sun 

that  are  crushed  to  must  under  the  feet 

of  girls  and  lads, 

to  flow  for  new  generations  of  men 

a  wine  full  of  earth 

of  sun. 



The  road  winds  white  among  ashen  hills 

grey  clouds  overhead 

grey  sea  below. 

The  road  clings  to  the  strong  capes 

hangs  above  the  white  foam-line 

of  unheard  breakers 

that  edge  with  lace  the  scarf  of  the  sea 

sweeping  marbled   with  sunlight 

to  the  dark  horizon 

towards  which  steering  intently 

like  ducks   with  red  bellies 

swim  the  black  laden  steamers. 

The  wind  blows  the  dust  of  the  road 
and  whines  in  the  dead  grass 
and  is  silent. 


I  can  hear  my  steps 

and  the  clink  of  coins  in  one  pocket 

and  the  distant  hush  of  the  sea. 

On  the  highroad  to  Villa joyosa 




TO    J.    G.    P. 

The  greyish  snow  of  the  pass 
is  starred  with  the  sad  lilac 
of  autumn  crocuses. 

Hissing  among  the  brown  leaves 
of  the  scruboaks 

bruising  the  tender  crocus   petals 
a  sleetgust  sweeps  the  pass. 

The  air  is  calm  again. 
Under  a  bulging  sky  motionless  overhead 
the  mountains  heave  velvet  black 
into   the   cloudshut  distance. 

South  the  road  winds 
down  a  wide  valley 
towards  stripes  of  rain 


through  which  shine  straw  yellow 

faint  as  a  dream 

the  rolling  lands  of  New  Castile. 

A  fresh  gust  whines  through  the  snowbent  grass 

pelting  with  sleet  the  withering  crocuses, 

and  rustles  the  dry  leaves  of  the  scruboaks 

with  a  sound  as  of  gallop  of  hoofs 

far  away  on  the  grey  stony  road 

a  sound  as  of  faintly  heard  cavalcades 

of  old  stern  kings 

climbing  the  cold  iron  passes 

stopping  to  stare  with  cold  hawkeyes 

at  the  pale  plain. 

Puerto,  de  Navecerrada 



Soft  as  smoke  are  the  blue  green  pines 

in   the  misty   lavender  twilight 

yellow  as  flame  the  flame-shaped  poplars 

whose  dead  leaves  fall 

vaguely  spinning  through  the  tinted  air 

till  they  reach  the  brownish  mirror  of  the  stream 

where  they  are  borne  a  tremulous  pale  fleet 

over  gleaming  ripples  to  the  sudden  dark 

beneath  the  Roman  bridge. 

Forever  it  stands  the  Roman  bridge 

a  firm  strong  arch  in  the  purple  mist 

and  ever  the  yellow  leaves  are  swirled 

into  the  darkness  beneath 

where  echoes  forever  the  tramp  of  feet 

of  the  weary  feet  that  bore 

the  Eagles  and  the  Law. 


And  through  the  misty  lavender  twilight 
the  leaves  of  the  poplars  fall  and  float 
with  the  silent  stream  to  the  deep  night 
beneath  the  Roman  bridge. 




In  the  velvet  calm  of  long  grey  slopes  of  snow 
the   silky   crunch   of  my  steps. 
About  me  vague  dark  circles  of  mountains 
secret,  listening  in  the  intimate  silence. 

Bleating  of  sheep,  the  bark  of  a  dog 

and,  dun-yellow  in  the  snow 

a  long  flock  straggles. 

Crying  of  lambs, 

twitching  noses  of  snowflecked  ewes, 

the  proud  curved  horns   of  a   regal   broadgirthed 


yellow  backs  steaming; 
then,  tails  and  tracks  in  the  snow, 
and  the  responsible  lope  of  the  dog 
who  stops  with  a  paw  lifted  to  look  back 
at  the  baked  apple  face  of  the  shepherd. 




You  were  beside  me  on  the  stony  path 
down  from  the  mountain. 

And   I   was  the  rain  that  lashed  such   flame  into 

your  cheeks 

and  the  sensuous  rolling  hills 
where  the  mists  clung  like  garments. 

I  was  the  sadness  that  came  out  of  the  languid  rain 
and  the  soft  dove-tinted  hills 

and  choked  you  with  the  harsh  embrace  of  a  lover 
so  that  you  almost  sobbed. 

Siete  Picos 



When  they  sang  as  they  marched  in  step 
on  the  long  path  that  wound  to  the  valley 
I  followed  lonely  in  silence. 

When  they  sat  and  laughed  by  the  hearth 

where  our  damp  clothes  steamed  in  the  flare 

of  the  noisy  prancing  flames 

I  sat  still  in  the  shadow 

for  their  language  was  strange  to  me. 

But  when  as  they  slept  I  sat 

and  watched  by  the  door  of  the  cabin 

I  was  not  lonely 

for  they  lay  with  quiet  faces 

stroked  by  the  friendly  tongues 

of  the  silent  firelight 

and  outside  the  white  stars  swarmed 

like  gnats  about  a  lamp  in  autumn 

an  intelligible  song. 




I  lie  among  green  rocks 

on  the  thyme-scented  mountain. 

The  thistledown  clouds  and  the  sky 

grey-white  and  grey-violet 

are  mirrored  in  your  dark  eyes 

as  in  the  changing  pools  of  the  mountain. 

I  have  made  for  your  head 

a  wreath  of  livid  crocuses. 

How  strange  they  are  the  wan  lilac  crocuses 

against  your  dark  smooth  skin 

in  the  intense  black  of  your  wind-towseled  hair. 

Sleet  from  the  high  snowfields 
snaps  a  lash  down  the  mountain 
bruising  the  withered  petals 
of  the  last  crocuses. 

I  am  alone  in  the  swirling  mist 

beside  the  frozen  pools  of  the  mountain. 

La  Maliciosa 



Infinities  away  already 

are  your  very  slender  body 

and  the  tremendous  dark  of  your  eyes 

where  once  beyond  the  laughingness  of  childhood, 

came  a  breath  of  jessamine  prophetic  of  summer, 

a  sudden  flutter  of  yellow  butterflies 

above  dark  pools. 

Shall  I  take  down  my  books 

and  weave  from  that  glance  a  romance 

and  build  tinsel  thrones  for  you 

out  of  old  poets'  fancies? 

Shall  I  fashion  a  temple  about  you 
where  to  burn  out  my  life  like  frankincense 
till  you  tower  dark  behind  the  sultry  veil 
huge  as  Isis? 


Or  shall  I  go  back  to  childhood 

remembering  butterflies  in  sunny  fields 

to  cower  with  you  when  the  chilling  shadow  fleets 

across  the  friendly  sun? 




And  neither  did  Beatrice  and  Dante  .  . 
But  Beatrice  they  say 
was  a  convention. 

November,  1916 — February,  1917. 



And  when  the  news  of  the  Death  of  the  Empress 
of  that  Far  Country  did  come  to  them,  they 
fashioned  of  her  an  Image  in  doleful  wise  and 
poured  out  Rum  and  Marsala  Sack  and  divers 
Liquors  such  as  were  procurable  in  that  place  into 
Cannikins  to  do  her  Honor  and  did  wake  and 
keen  and  make  moan  most  plteously  to  hear.  And 
that  Night  were  there  many  Marvels  and  Prodi 
gies  observed;  the  Welkin  was  near  consumed 
with  fire  and  Spirits  and  Banashees  grumbled  and 
wailed  above  the  roof  and  many  that  were  in  that 
place  hid  themselves  in  Dens  and  Burrows  in  the 
ground.  Of  the  swanlike  and  grievously  melodi 
ous  Ditties  the  Minstrels  fashioned  in  that  fear 
some  Night  these  only  are  preserved  for  the 

Admiration  of  the  Age. 



Our  lady  lies  on  a  brave  high  bed, 
On  pillows  of  gold  with  gold  baboons 
On  red  silk  deftly  embroidered — 
O  anger  and  eggs  and  candlelight — 
Her  gold-specked  eyes  have  little  sight. 

Our  lady  cries  on  a  brave  high  bed; 

The  golden  light  of  the  candles  licks 

The  crown  of  gold  on  her  frizzly  head — 

O  candles  and  angry  eggs  so  white — 

Her  gold-specked  eyes  are  sharp  with  fright. 

Our  lady  sighs  till  the  high  bed  creaks; 
The  golden  candles  gutter  and  sway 
In  the  swirling  dark  the  dark  priest  speaks — 
O  his  eyes  are  white  as  eggs  with  fright 
— Our  lady  will  die  twixt  night  and  night. 


Our  lady  lies  on  a  brave  high  bed; 

The  golden  crown  has  slipped  from  her  head 

On  the  pillows  crimson  embroidered — 

O  baboons  writhing  in  candlelight  - 

Her  gold-specked  soul  has  taken  flight. 



Deepening  to  tawniness 
As  the  throats  of  nightingales 
Strangled  for  Nero's  supper. 


Like  the  coverlet  of  Dudloysha 

At  the  Hotel  Continental. 

Thick  to  the  lips  and  velvety 
Scented   of   rum   and   vanilla 
Oversweet,  oversoft,  overstrong, 
Full  of  froth  of  fascination, 


Drink  to  be  drunk  of  Isoldes 
Sunk  in  champagne-colored  couches 
While  Tristans  with  fair  flowing  hair 
And  round  cheeks  rosy  as  cherubs 
Stand  and  stretch  their  arms, 
And  let  their  great  slow  tears 
Roll  and  fall, 
And  splash  in  the  huge  gold  cups. 

And  behind  the  scenes  with  his  sleeves  rolled  up, 


Kurwenal  beats  the  eggs 

Into  spuming  symphonic  splendor 


Red-nosed  gnomes  roll  and  tumble 
Tussle  and  jumble  in  the  firelight 
Roll  on  their  backs  spinning  rotundly, 
Out  of  earthern  jars 
Gloriously  gurgitating,       ' 
Wriggling  their  huge  round  bellies. 


And  the  air  of  the  cave  is  heavy 
With  steaming  Marsala  and  rum 
And  hot  bruised  vanilla. 

Champagne-colored,  one  lies  in  a  velvetiness 

Of   yellow   moths   stirring   faintly   tickling  wings 

One  is  heavy  and  full  of  languor 

And  sleep  is  a  champagne-colored  coverlet, 

the  champagne-colored  stockings  of  Venus  .  .  . 

And  later 

One  goes 

And  pukes  beautifully  beneath  the  moon, 





The  autumn  leaves  that  this  morning  danced  with 

the  wind, 

curtseying  in  slow  minuettes, 
giddily  whirling  in  bacchanals, 
balancing,  hesitant,  tiptoe, 
while  the  wind  whispered  of  distant  hills, 
and  clouds   like   white   sails,   sailing 
in  limpid  green  ice-colored  skies, 
have  crossed  the  picket  fence 
and  the  three  strands  of  barbed  wire; 
they  have  leapt  the  green  picket  fence 
despite  the  sentry's  bayonet. 

Under  the  direction  of  a  corporal 

three  soldiers  in  khaki  are  sweeping  them  up, 

sweeping  up  the  autumn  leaves, 

crimson  maple  leaves,  splotched  with  saffron, 


ochre  and  cream, 

brown  leaves  of  horse-chestnuts  .  .  . 

and  the  leaves  dance  and  curtsey  round  the  brooms, 

full  of  mirth, 

wistful  of  the  journey  the  wind  promised  them. 

This  morning  the  leaves  fluttered  gaudily, 

reckless,  giddy  from  the  wind's  dances, 

over  the  green  picket  fence 

and  the  three  strands  of  barbed  wire. 

Now  they  are  swept  up 

and  put  in  a  garbage  can 

with  cigarette   butts 

and  chewed-out  quids  of  tobacco, 

burnt  matches,  old  socks,  torn  daily  papers, 

and  dust  from  the  soldiers'  blankets. 

And  the  wind  blows  tauntingly 
over  the  mouth  of  the  garbage  can, 
whispering,   Far  away, 
mockingly,  Far  away  .  .  . 


And  I  too  am  swept  up 

and  put  in  a  garbage  can 

with  smoked  cigarette  ash 

and  chewed-out  quids  of  tobacco; 

I  am  fallen  into  the  dominion 

of  the  great  dusty  queen  .  .  . 

Ennui,  iron  goddess,  cobweb-clothed 

goddess  of  all  useless  things, 

of  attics  cluttered  with  old  chairs 

for  centuries  unsatupon, 

of  strong  limbs  wriggling  on  office  stools, 

of  ancient  cab-horses  and  cabs 

that  sleep  all  day  in  silent  sunny  squares, 

of  camps  bound  with  barbed  wire, 

and  green  picket  fences — 

bind  my  eyes  with  your  close  dust 

choke  my  ears  with  your  grey  cobwebs 

that  I  may  not  see  the  clouds 

that  sail  away  across  the  sky, 

far  away,  tauntingly, 


that  I  may  not  hear  the  wind 

that  mocks  and  whispers  and  is  gone 

in  pursuit  of  the  horizon. 




TO  D.  r. 

The  ropes  of  the  litter  creak  and  groan 
As  the  bearers  turn  down  the  steep  path; 
Pebbles   scuttle   under   slipping   feet. 
But  the  Roman  poet  lies  back  confident 
On  his  magenta  cushions  and  mattresses, 
Thinks  of  Greek  bronzes 
At  the  sight  of  the  straining  backs  of  his  slaves. 

The  slaves'  breasts  shine  with  sweat, 

And  they  draw  deep  breaths  of  the  cooler  air 

As    they    lurch    through    tunnel    after    tunnel    of 


At  last,  where  the  spray  swirls  like  smoke, 
And  the  river  roars  in  a  cauldron  of  green, 
The  poet  feels  his  fat  arms  quiver 


And  his  eyes  and  ears  drowned  and  exalted 
In  the  reverberance  of  the  fall. 

The  ropes  of  the  litter  creak  and  groan, 

The  embroidered  curtains,  moist  with  spray, 

Flutter  in  the  poet's  face; 

Pebbles  scuttle  under  slipping  feet 

As  the  slaves  strain  up  the  path  again, 

And  the  Roman  poet  lies  back  confident 

Among  silk  cushions  of  gold  and  magenta, 

His   hands   clasped  across   his   mountainous  belly, 

Thinking  of  the  sibyll  and  fate, 

And  gorgeous  and  garlanded  death, 

Mouthing  hexameters. 

But  I,  my  belly  full  and  burning  as  the  sun 

With  the  good  white  wine  of  the  Alban  hills 

Stumble  down  the  path 

Into  the  cool  green  and  the  roar, 

And  wonder,  and  am  abashed. 




The  doge  goes  down  in  state  to  the  sea 
To  inspect  with  beady  traders'  eyes 
New  cargoes  from  Crete,  Mytilene, 
Cyprus  and  Joppa,  galleys  piled 
With  bales  off  which  in  all  the  days 
Of  sailing  the  sea-wind  has  not  blown 
The  dust  of  Arabian  caravans. 

In  velvet  the  doge  goes  down  to  the  sea. 

And  sniffs  the  dusty  bales  of  spice 

Pepper  from  Cathay,  nard  and  musk, 

Strange  marbles  from  ruined  cities,  packed 

In  unfamiliar-scented  straw. 

Black  slaves  sweat  and  grin  in  the  sun. 

Marmosets  pull  at  the  pompous  gowns 

Of  burgesses.     Parrots  scream 

And  cling  swaying  to  the  ochre  bales  .  .  . 


Dazzle  of  the  rising  dust  of  trade 

Smell  of  pitch  and  straining  slaves  .  .  . 

And  out   on   the   green   tide   towards   the  sea 
Drift  the  rinds  of  orient  fruits 
Strange  to  the  lips,  bitter  and  sweet. 




The  air  is  drenched  to  the  stars 
With  fragrance  of  flowering  grape 
Where  the  hills  hunch  up  from  the  plain 
To  the  purple  dark  ridges  that  sweep 
Towards  the  flowery-pale  peaks  and  the  snow. 

Faint  as  the  peaks  in  the  glister  of  starlight, 
A  figure  on  a  silver-tinkling  snow-white  mule 
Climbs  the  steeply  twining  stony  road 
Through  murmuring  vineyards  to  the  gate 
That  gaps  with  black  the  wan  starlight. 

The  watchman  on  his  three-legged  stool 
Drowses  in  his  beard,  dreams 
He  is  a  boy 'walking  with  strong  strides 
Of  slender  thighs  down  a  wet  road, 
Where  flakes  of  violet-colored  April  sky 


Have  brimmed  the  many  puddles  till  the  road 
Is  as  a  tattered  path  across  another  sky. 

The  watchman  on  his  threelegged  stool, 
Sits  snoring  in  his  beard; 

His  dream  is  full  of  flowers  massed  in  meadow- 

Of  larks  and  thrushes  singing  in  the  dawn, 
Of  touch  of  women's  lips  and  twining  hands, 
And  madness  of  the  sprouting  spring  .  .  . 
His  ears  a-sudden  ring  with  the  shrill  cry: 
Open  watchman  of  the  gate, 
It  is  I,  the  Cyprian. 

— It  is  ruled  by  the  burghers  of  this  town 

Of  Asolo,  that  from  sundown 

To  dawn  no  stranger  shall  come  in, 

Be  he  even  emperor,  or  doge's  kin. 

— Open,  watchman  of  the  gate, 

It  is  I,  the  Cyprian. 


— Much  scandal  has  been  made  of  late 
By  wandering  women  in  this  town. 
The  laws  forbid  the  opening  of  the  gate 
Till  next  day  once  the  sun  is  down. 
— Watchman  know  that  I  who  wait 
Am  Queen  of  Jerusalem,  Queen 
Of  Cypress,  Lady  of  Asolo,  friend 
Of  the  Doge  and  the  Venetian  State. 

There  is  a  sound  of  drums,  and  torches  flare 
Dims  the  star-swarm,  and  war-horns'  braying 
Drowns  the  fiddling  of  crickets  in  the  wall, 
Hoofs  strike  fire  on  the  flinty  road, 
Mules  in  damasked  silk  caparisoned 
Climb    in    long   train,   strange    shadows    in    torch 
The  road  that  winds  to  the  city  gate. 

The  watchman,  fumbling  with  his  keys, 

Mumbles  in  his  beard : — Had  thought 

She  was  another  Cyprian,  strange  the  dreams 


That  come  when  one  has  eaten  tripe. 

The  great  gates  creak  and  groan, 

The  hinges  shriek,  and  the  Queen's  white  mule 

Stalks  slowly  through. 

The  watchman,  in  the  shadow  of  the  wall, 

Looks  out  with  heavy  eyes: — Strange, 

What  cavalcade  is  this  that  clatters  into  Asolo? 

These  are  not  men-at-arms, 

These  ruddy  boys  with  vineleaves  in  their  hair! 

That  great-bellied  one  no  seneschal 

Can  be,  astride  an  ass  so  gauntily ! 

Virgin  Mother!     Saints!     They  wear  no  clothes! 

And  through  the  gate  a  warm  wind  blows, 

A  dizzying  perfume  of  the  grape, 

And  a  great  throng  crying  Cypris, 

Cyprian,  with  cymbals  crashing  and  a  shriek 

Of  Thessalian  pipes,  and  swaying  of  torches, 

That  smell  hot  like  wineskins  of  resin, 


That  flare  on  arms  empurpled  and  hot  cheeks, 
And  full  shouting  lips  vermillion-red. 

Youths  and  girls  with  streaming  hair 

Pelting  the  night  with  flowers: 

Yellow  blooms  of  Adonis,  white 

scented  stars  of  pale  Narcissus, 

Mad  incense  of  the  blooming  vine, 

And  carmine  passion  of  pomegranate  blooms. 

A-sudden  all  the  strummings  of  the  night, 

All  the  insect-stirrings,  all  the  rustlings 

Of  budding  leaves,  the  sing-song 

Of  waters  brightly  gurgling  through  meadowland, 

Are  shouting  with  the  shouting  throng, 

Crying  Cypris,   Cyprian, 

Queen  of  the  seafoam,  Queen  of  the  budding  year, 

Queen  of  eyes  that  flame  and  hands  that  twine, 

Return  to  us,  return  from  the  fields  of  asphodel. 


And  all  the  grey  town  of  Asolo 

Is  full  of  lutes  and  songs  of  love, 

And  vows  exchanged  from  balcony  to  balcony 

Across  the  singing  streets  .  .  . 

But  in  the  garden  of  the  nunnery, 

Of  the  sisters  of  poverty,  daughters  of  dust, 

The  cock  crows.    The  cock  crows. 

The  watchman  rubs  his  old  ribbed  brow: 

Through  the  gate,  in  silk  all  dusty  from  the  road, 

Into  the  grey  town  asleep  under  the  stars, 

On  tired  mules  and  lean  old  war-horses 

Comes  a  crowd  of  quarrelling  men-at-arms 

After   a  much-veiled   lady   with   a   falcon   on   her 


— This  Asolo?     What  a  nasty  silent  town 
He  sends  me  to,  that  dull  old  doge. 

And  you,  watchman,  I've  told  you  thrice 
That  I  am  Cypress's  Queen,  Jerusalem's, 

84  NIGHTS    AT    BA8SANO 

And  Lady  of  this  dull  village,  Asolo; 

Tend  your  gates  better.     Are  you  deaf, 

That  you  stand  blinking  at  me,  pulling  at  your 

dirty  beard? 

You  shall  be  thrashed,  when  I  rule  Asolo. 
—What  strange  dreams,  mumbled  in  his  beard 
The   ancient  watchman,   come   from   eating  tripe. 




Shrilly  whispering  down  the  lanes 
That  serpent  through  the  ancient  night, 
They,    the    scoffers,    the    scornful    of    chains, 
Stride  their  turbulent  flight. 

The  stars  spin  steel  above  their  heads 
In  the  shut  irrevocable  sky; 
Gnarled  thorn-branches  tear  to  shreds 
Their  cloaks  of  pageantry. 

A  wind  blows  bitter  in  the  grey, 
Chills  the  sweat  on  throbbing  cheeks, 
And  tugs  the  gaudy  rags  away 
From  their  lean  bleeding  knees. 

Their  laughter  startles  the  scarlet  dawn 
Among  a  tangled  spiderwork 


Of  girdered  steel,  and  shrills  forlorn 
And  dies  in  the  rasp  of  wheels. 

Whirling  like  gay  prints  that  whirl 
In  tatters  of  squalid  gaudiness, 
Borne  with  dung  and  dust  in  the  swirl 
Of  wind  down  the  endless  street, 

With  thin  lips  laughing  bitterly, 
Through  the  day  smeared  in  sooty  smoke 
That  pours  from  each  red  chimney, 
They  speed  unseemily. 

Women  with  unlustered  hair, 
Men  with  huge  ugly  hands  of  oil, 
Children,  impudently  stare 
And  point  derisive  hands. 

Only  .  .  .  where  a  barrel  organ  thrills 
Two  small  peak-chested  girls  to  dance, 
And  among  the  iron  clatter  spills 
A  swiftening  rhythmy  song, 


They  march  in  velvet  silkslashed  hose, 
Strumming  guitars  and  mellow  lutes, 
Strutting  pointed  Spanish  toes, 
A  stately  company. 



Good  Friday,  1918. 

This  is  the  feast  of  death 

We  make  of  our  pain  God; 

We  worship  the  nails  and  the  rod 

arid  pain's  last  choking  breath 

and  the  bleeding  rack  of  the  cross. 

The  women  have  wept  away  their  tears, 
with  red  eyes  turned  on  death,  and  loss 
of  friends  and  kindred,  have  left  the  biers 
flowerless,   and   bound  their   heads   in  their  blank 


and  climbed  the  steep  slope  of  Golgotha;  fails 
at  last  the  wail  of  their  bereavement, 
and    all   the   jagged    world    of    rocks    and    desert 



stands  before  their  racked  sightless  faces, 
as  any  ice-sea  silent. 

This  is  the  feast  of  conquering  death. 
The  beaten  flesh  worships  the  swishing  rod. 
The  lacerated  body  bows  to  its  God, 
adores  the  last  agonies  of  breath. 

And  one  more  has  joined  the  unnumbered 

deathstruck  multitudes 

who  with  the  loved  of  old  have  slumbered 

ages  long,  where  broods 

Earth  the  beneficent  goddess, 

the  ultimate  queen  of  quietness, 

taker  of  all  worn  souls  and  bodies 

back  into  the  womb  of  her  first  nothingness. 

But  ours,  who  in  the  iron  night  remain, 

ours  the  need,  the  pain 

of  his  departing. 

He  had  lived  on  out  of  a  happier  age 

90  NIGHTS    AT    BA8SANO 

into  our  strident  torture-cage. 

He  still  could  sing 

of  quiet  gardens  under  rain 

and  clouds  and  the  huge  sky 

and  pale  deliciousness  that  is  nearly  pain. 

His  was  a  new  minstrelsy: 

strange  plaints  brought  home  out  of  the  rich  east, 

twanging  songs   from   Tartar  caravans, 

hints  of  the  sounds  that  ceased 

with  the  stilling  dawn,  wailings  of  the  night, 

echoes  of  the  web  of  mystery  that  spans 

the  world  between  the  failing  and  the  rising  of  the 

wan  daylight 

of  the  sea,  and  of  a  woman's  hair 
hanging  gorgeous  down  a  dungeon  wall, 
evening  falling  on  Tintagel, 
love  lost  in  the  mist  of  old  despair. 

Against  the  bars  of  our  torture-cage 
we  beat  out  our  poor  lives  in  vain. 


We  live  on  cramped  in  an  iron  age 

like  prisoners  of  old 

high  on  the  world's  battlements 

exposed  until  we  die  to  the  chilling  rain 

crouched  and  chattering  from  cold 

for  all  scorn  to  stare  at. 

And  we  watch  one  by  one  the  great 

stroll  leisurely  out  of  the  western  gate 

and  without  a  backward  look  at  the  strident  city 

drink  down  the  stirrup-cup  of  fate 

embrace  the  last  obscurity. 

We  worship  the  nails  and  the  rod 
and  pain's  last  choking  breath. 
We  make  of  our  pain  God. 
This  is  the  feast  of  death. 



Beer  is  free  to  soldiers 
In  every  bar  and  tavern 
As  the  regiments  victorious 
March  under  garlands  to  the  city  square. 

Beer  is  free  to  soldiers 

And  lips  are  free,  and  women, 

Breathless,  stand  on  tiptoe 

To  see  the  flushed  young  thousands  in  advance. 

"Beer  is  free  to  soldiers; 

Give  all  to  the  liberators"  .  .  . 

Under  wreaths  of  laurel 

And  small  and  large  flags  fluttering,  victorious, 

They    of    the    frock-coats,    with    clink    of    official 

Are  welcoming  with  eloquence  outpouring 


The  liberating  thousands,  the  victorious; 

In  their  speaking  is  a  soaring  of  great  phrases, 

Balloons  of  tissue  paper, 

Hung  with  patriotic  bunting, 

That  rise  serene  into  the  blue, 

While  the  crowds  with  necks  uptilted 

Gaze  at  their  upward  soaring 

Till  they  vanish  in  the  blue; 

And  each  man  feels  the  blood  of  life 

Rumble  in  his  ears  important 

With  participation  in  Events. 

But  not  the  fluttering  of  great  flags 
Or  the  brass  bands  blaring,  victorious, 
Or  the  speeches  of  persons  in  frock  coats, 
Who  pause  for  the  handclapping  of  crowds, 
Not  the  stamp  of  men  and  women  dancing, 
Or  the  bubbling  of  beer  in  the  taverns, — 
Frothy  mugs  free  for  the  victorious — , 
Not  all  the  trombone-droning  of  Events, 

94  NIGHTS    AT    BAS8ANO 

Can  drown  the  inextinguishible  laughter  of  the 

And  they  hear  it,  the  old  hooded  houses, 

The  great  creaking  peak-gabled  houses, 

That  gossip  and  chuckle  to  each  other 

Across  the  clattering  streets; 

They  hear  it,  the  old  great  gates, 

The  grey  gates  with  towers, 

Where  in  the  changing  shrill  winds  of  the  years 

Have  groaned  the  poles  of  many  various-colored 

The  poplars  of  the  high-road  hear  it, 

From  their  trembling  twigs  comes  a  dry  laughing, 

As  they  lean  towards  the  glare  of  the  city. 

And  the  old  hard-laughing  paving-stones, 

Old  stones  weary  with  the  weariness 

Of  the  labor  of  men's  footsteps, 

Hear  it  as  they  quake  and  clamour 

Under  the  garlanded  wheels  of  the  yawning  con 
fident  cannon 


That  are  dragged  victorious  through  the  flutter  of 
the  city. 

Beer  is  free  to  soldiers, 
Bubbles  on  wind-parched  lips, 
Moistens  easy  kisses 
Lavished  on  the  liberators. 

Beer  is  free  to  soldiers 

All  night  in  steaming  bars, 

In  halls  delirious  with  dancing 

TKat  spill  their  music  into  thronging  streets. 

— All  is  free  to  soldiers, 
To  the  weary  heroes 
Who  have  bled,  and  soaked 
The  whole  earth  in  their  sacrificial  blood, 
Who  have  with  their  bare  flesh  clogged 
The  crazy  wheels  of  Juggernaut, 
Freed  the  peoples  from  the  dragon  that  devoured 

96  NIGHTS    AT    BA8SANO 

That  scorched  with  greed  their  pleasant  fields  and 

Their  quiet  delightful  places: 

So    they    of    the    frock-coats,    amid    wreaths    and 

flags  victorious, 

To  the  crowds  in  the  flaring  squares, 
And  a  murmurous  applause 
Rises  like  smoke  to  mingle  in  the  sky 
With  the  crashing  of  the  bells. 

But,  resounding  in  the  sky, 

Louder  than  the  tramp  of  feet, 

Louder  than  the  crash  of  bells, 

Louder  than  the  blare  of  bands,  victorious, 

Shrieks  the  inextinguishable  laughter  of  the  gods. 

The  old  houses  rock  with  it, 
And  wag  their  great  peaked  heads, 
The  old  gates  shake, 
And  the  pavings   ring  with  it, 


As  with  the  iron  tramp  of  old  fighters, 

As  with  the  clank  of  heels  of  the  victorious, 

By  long  ages  vanquished. 

The  spouts  in  the  gurgling  fountains 

Wrinkle  their  shiny  griffin  faces, 

Splash  the   rhythm   in   their   ice-fringed   basins — 

Of  the  inextinguishable  laughter  of  the  gods. 

And  far  up  into  the  inky  sky, 

Where    great    trailing    clouds    stride    across    the 


Darkening  the  spired  cities, 

And  the  villages  folded  in  the  hollows  of  hills, 
And  the  shining  cincture  of  railways, 
And  the  pale  white  twining  roads, 
Sounds  with  the  stir  of  quiet  monotonous  breath 
Of  men  and  women  stretched  out  sleeping, 
Sounds  with  the  thin  wail  of  pain 
Of  hurt  things  huddled  in  darkness, 
Sounds  with  the  victorious  racket 


Of  speeches  and  soldiers  drinking, 

Sounds  with  the  silence  of  the  swarming  dead — 

The  inextinguishable  laughter  of  the  gods. 



O  I  would  take  my  pen  and  write 

In  might  of  words 

A  pounding  dytheramb 

Alight  with  teasing  fires  of  hate, 

Or  drone  to  numbness  in  the  spell 

Of  old  loves  long  lived  away 

A  drowsy  vilanelle. 

O  I  would  build  an  Ark  of  words, 

A  safe  ciborium  where  to  lay 

The  secret  soul  of  loveliness. 

O  I  would  weave  of  words  in  rhythm 

A  gaudily  wrought  pall 

For  the  curious  cataphalque  of  fate. 

But  my  pen  does  otherwise. 

All  I  can  write  is  the  orange  tinct  with  crimson 
of  the  beaks  of  the  goose 


and  of  the  wet  webbed  feet  of  the  geese 

that  crackle  the  skimming  of  ice 

and  curve  their  white  plump  necks  to  the  water 

in  the  manure-stained  rivulet 

that  runs  down  the  broad  village  street; 

and  of  their  cantankerous  dancings  and  hissings, 

with  beaks  tilted  up,  half  open 

and  necks  stiffly  extended; 

and  the  cure's  habit  blowing  in  the  stinging  wind 

and  his  red  globular  face 

like  a  great  sausage  burst  in  the  cooking 

that  smiles 

as   he  takes   the   shovel  hat  off   his   head   with   a 


the  hat  held  at  arm's  length, 

sweeping  a  broad  curve,  like  a  censor  well  swung; 
and,   beyond   the   last   grey   gabled    house   in    the 


the  gaunt  Christ 
that  stretches  bony  arms  and  tortured  hands 

NIGHTS    AT    BAS&ANO  101 

to  embrace  the  broad  lands  leprous  with  cold 
the  furrowed  fields  and  the  meadows 
and  the  sprouting  oats 

ghostly  beneath  the  grey  bitter  blanket  of  hoar 



In  a  hall  on  Olympus  we  held  carouse, 
Sat  dining  through  the  warm  spring  night, 
Spilling  of  the  crocus-colored  wine 
Glass  after  brimming  glass  to  rouse 
The  ghosts  that  dwell  in  books  to  flight 
Of  word  and  image  that,  divine, 
In  the  draining  of  a  glass  would  tear 
The  lies  from  off  reality, 
And  the  world  in  gaudy  chaos  spread 
Naked-new  in  the  throbbing  flare 
Of  songs  of  long-fled  spirits; — free 
For  the  wanderer  devious  roads  to  tread. 

Names  waved  as  banners  in  our  talk: 

Lucretius,  his  master,  all  men  who  to  balk 

The  fear  that  shrivels  us  in  choking  rinds 

Have  thrown  their  souls  like  pollen  to  the  winds, 


Erasmus,  Bruno  who  burned  in  Rome,  Voltaire, 

All  those  whose  lightning  laughter  cleaned  the 

Of  the  minds  of  men  from  the  murk  of  fear- 
sprung  gods, 

And  straightened  the  backs  bowed  under  the 
rulers'  rods. 

A  hall  full  of  the  wine  and  chant  of  old  songs, 
Smelling  of  lilacs  and  early  roses  and  night, 
Clamorous    with    the    names    and    phrases    of   the 

Of  the  garlanded  dead,  and  with  glasses  pledged 

to  the  light 
Of  the  dawning  to  come  .  .  . 

O  in  the  morning  we  would  go 
Out  into  the  drudging  world  and  sing 
And  shout  down  dustblinded  streets,  hollo 
From  hill  to  hill,  and  our  thought  fling 

104  NIGHTS    AT    BA8SANO 

Abroad  through  all  the  drowsy  earth 

To    wake    the    sleeper    and    the    worker    and    the 


In  walls  cemented  of  lies  to  mirth 
And  dancing  joy;  laughingly  unveiled 
From  the  sick  mist  of  fear  to  run  naked  and  leap 
And  shake  the  nations   from  their  snoring  sleep. 

O  in  the  morning  we  would  go 

Fantastically  arrayed 

In  silk  and  scarlet  braid, 

In  rich  glitter  like  the  sun  on  snow 

\Vith  banners  of  orange,  vermillion,  black, 

And  jasper-handed  swords, 

Anklets  and  tinkling  gauds 

Of  topaz  set  twistingly,  or  lac 

Laid  over  with  charms  of  demons'  heads 

In  indigo  and  gold. 

Our  going  a  music  bold 

Would  be,  behind  us  the  twanging  threads 


Of  mad  guitars,  the  wail  of  lutes 
In  wildest  harmony; 
Lilting  thumping  free, 
Pipes  and  kettledrums  and  flutes 
And  brazen  braying  trumpet-calls 
Would  wake  each  work-drowsed  town 
And  shake  it  in  laughter  down, 
Untuning  in  dust  the  shuttered  walls. 

O   in   the  morning   we   would   go 

With  doleful  steps  so  dragging  and  slow 

And  grievous  mockery  of  woe 

And  bury  the  old  gods  where  they  lay 

Sodden  drunk  with  men's  pain  in  the  day, 

In  the  dawn's  first  new  burning  white  ray 

That   would   shrivel   like   dead   leaves   the   sacred 


The  avengers,  the  graspers,  the  wringers  of  sighs, 
Of  blood   from   men's    work-twisted  hands,   from 

their  eyes 


Of   tears   without   hope  .  .  .  But   in   the   burning 


Of  the  dawn  we  would  see  them  brooding  to  slay, 
In  a  great  wind  whirled  like  dead  leaves  away. 

In  a  hall  on  Olympus  we  held  carouse, 
In  our  talk  as  banners  waving  names, 
Songs,  phrases  of  the  garlanded  dead. 

Yesterday  I  went  back  to  that  house  .  .  . 
Guttered  candles  where  were  flames, 
Shattered  dust-grey  glasses  instead 
Of  the  fiery  crocus-colored  wine, 
Silence,  cobwebs  and  a  mouse 
Nibbling  nibbling  the  moulded  bread 
Those  spring  nights  dipped  in  vintage  divine 
In  the  downward  chanting  of  our  last  carouse. 
1918— 1919 







O  the  savage  munching  of  the  long  dark  train 

crunching  up  the  miles 

crunching  up  the  long  slopes    and  the  hills 

that  crouch  and  sprawl  through  the  night 

like  animals  asleep, 

gulping  the  winking  towns 

and  the  shadow-brimmed  valleys 

where  lone  trees  twist  their  thorny  arms. 

The  smoke  flares  red  and  yellow; 

the  smoke  curls  like  a  long  dragon's  tongue 

over  the  broken  lands. 

The  train  with  teeth  flashing 

gnaws  through  the  piecrust  of  hills  and  plains 

greedy  of  horizons. 

Alcazar  de  San  Juan 



TO  R.  H. 

I  invite  all  the  gods  to  dine 
on  the  hard  benches  of  my  third  class  coach 
that  joggles  over  brown  uplands 
dragged  at  the  end  of  a  rattling  train. 

I  invite  all  the  gods  to  dine, 

great  gods  and  small  gods,  gods  of  air 

and  earth  and  sea,  and  of  the  grey  land 

where  among  ghostly   rubbish   heaps  and  cast-out 

linger  the  strengthless  dead. 

I  invite  all  the  gods  to  dine, 
Jehovah  and  Crepitus  and  Sebek, 
the  slimy  crocodile  .  .   .   But  no; 
wait  .      .   I  revoke  the  invitation. 


For  I  have  seen  you,  crowding  gods, 
hungry  gods.    You  have  a  drab  official  look. 
You  have  your  pockets  full  of  bills, 
claims   for  indemnity,   for  incense  unsniffed 
since  men  first  jumped  up  in  their  sleep 
and  drove  you  out  of  doors. 

Let  me  instead,  O  djinn  that  sows  the  stars 

and  tunes  the  strings  of  the  violin, 

have  fifty  lyric  poets, 

not  pale  parson  folk,  occasional  sonneteers, 

but  sturdy  fellows  who  ride  dolphins, 

who  need  no  wine  to  make  them  drunk, 

who  do  not  fear  to  meet  red  death  at  the  meanads' 


or  to  have  their  heads  at  last 
float  vine-crowned  on  the  Thracian  sea. 

Anacreon,  a  partridge-wing? 
A  sip  of  wine,  Simonides? 
Algy  has  gobbled  all  the  pastry 


and  left  none  for  the  Elizabethans 

who  come  arm  in  arm,  singing  bawdy  songs, 

smelling  of  sack,  from  the  Mermaid.     Ronsard, 

will  you  eat  nothing,  only  sniff  roses? 

Those  Anthologists  have  husky  appetites ! 

There's  nothing  left  but  a  green  banana 

unless  that  galleon  comes  from  Venily 

with  Hillyer  breakfasts  wrapped  in  sonnet-paper. 

But  they've  all  brought  gods  with  them! 

Avaunt !    Take  them  away,  O  dj  inn 

that  paints  the  clouds  and  brings  in  the  night 

in  the  rumble  and  clatter  of  the  train 

cadences   out   of  the   past  .  .  .   Did  you   not   see 

how  each  saved  a  bit  out  of  the  banquet 

to  take  home  and  burn  in  quiet  to  his  god? 

Madrid,  Caceres,  Portugal 



Three  little  harlots 

with  artificial  roses  in  their  hair 

each  at  a  window  of  a  third-class  coach 

on  the  train  from  Zafra  to  the  fair. 

Too  much  powder  and  too  much  paint 

shining  black  hair. 

One  sings  to  the  clatter  of  wheels 

a  swaying  unending  song 

that  trails  across  the  crimson  slopes 

and  the  blue  ranks  of  olives 

and  the  green  ranks  of  vines. 

Three  little  harlots 

on  the  train  from  Zafra  to  the  fair. 

The  plowman  drops  the  traces 
on  the  shambling  oxen's  backs 


turns  his  head  and  stares 
wistfully  after  the  train. 

The  mule-boy  stops  his  mules 
shows  his  white  teeth  and  shouts 
a  word,  then  urges  dejectedly 
the  mules  to  the  road  again. 

The  stout  farmer  on  his  horse 
straightens  his  broad  felt  hat, 
makes  the  horse  leap,  and  waves 
grandiosely  after  the  train. 

Is  it  that  the  queen  Astarte 
strides  across  the  fallow  lands 
to  fertilize  the  swelling  grapes 
amid  shrieking  of  her  corybants? 

Too  much  powder  and  too  much  paint 

shining  black  hair. 

Three  little  harlots 

on  the  train  from  Zafra  to  the  fair. 

Sevilla — Merida 



My  desires  have  gone  a-hunting, 

circle  through  the  fields  and  sniff  along  the  hedges, 

hounds  that  have  lost  the  scent. 

Outside,  behind  the  white  swirling  patterns  of 

hunched  fruit-trees  slide  by 

slowly  pirouetting, 

and  poplars  and  aspens  on  tiptoe 

peer  over  each  other's  shoulders 

at  the  long  black  rattling  train; 

colts  sniff  and  fling  their  heels  in  air 

across  the  dusty  meadows, 

and  the  sun  now  and  then 

looks  with  vague  interest  through  the  clouds 

at  the  blonde  harvest  mottled  with  poppies, 

and  the  Joseph's  cloak  of  fields,  neatly  sewn  to 
gether  with  hedges, 


that  hides  the  grisly  skeleton 
of  the  elemental  earth. 

My  mad  desires 

circle  through  the  fields  and  sniff  along  the  hedges, 

hounds  that  have  lost  the  scent. 

Mis  to 




The  street  is  full  of  drums 
and  shuffle  of  slow  moving  feet. 
Above  the  roofs  in  the  shaking  towers 
the  bells  yawn. 

The  street  is  full  of  drums 
and  shuffle  of  slow  moving  feet. 
The  flanks  of  the  houses  glow 
with  the  warm  glow  of  candles, 
and  above  the  upturned  faces, 
crowned,  robed  in  a  cone-shaped  robe 
of  vast  dark  folds  glittering  with  gold, 
swaying  on  the  necks  of  men^  swaying 
with  the  strong  throb  of  drums, 
haltingly  she  advances. 

What  manner  of  woman  are  you, 
borne  in  triumph  on  the  necks  of  men, 


you  who  look  bitterly 

at  the  dead  man  on  your  knees, 

while  your  foot  in  an  embroidered  slipper 

tramples  the  new  moon? 

Haltingly  she  advances, 
swaying  above  the  upturned  faces 
and  the  shuffling  feet. 

In  the  dark  unthought-of  years 

men  carried  you  thus 

down  streets  where  drums  throbbed 

and   torches   flared, 

bore  you  triumphantly, 

mourner  and  queen, 

followed  you  with  shuffling  feet 

and  upturned  faces. 

You  it  was  who  sat 

in  the  swirl  of  your  robes 

at  the  granary  door, 

and  brought  the  orange  maize 


black  with  mildew 

or  fat  with  milk,  to  the  harvest: 

and  made  the  ewes 

to  swell  with  twin  lambs, 

or  bleating,  to  sicken  among  the  nibbling  flock. 

You  wept  the  dead  youth 

laid  lank  and  white  in  the  empty  hut, 

sat    scarring    your    cheeks    with    the    dark-cowled 


You  brought  the  women  safe 
through  the  shrieks  and  the  shuddering  pain 
of  the  birth  of  a  child; 
and,  when  the  sprouting  spring 
poured  fire  in  the  blood  of  the  young  men, 
and  made  the  he-goats  dance  stiff-legged 
in  the  sloping  thyme-scented  pastures, 
you  were  the  full-lipped  wanton  enchantress 
who  led  on  moonless  nights, 
when  it  was  very  dark  in  the  high  valleys, 
the  boys  from  the  villages 


to  find  the  herd-girls  among  the  munching  sweet- 
breathed  cattle 

beside  their  fires  of  thyme-sticks, 
on  their  soft  beds  of  sweet-fern. 

Many  names  have  they  called  you, 

Lady  of  laughing  and  weeping, 

shuffling  after  you,  borne 

on  the  necks  of  men  down  town  streets 

with  drums  and  red  torches: 

dolorous  one,  weeping  the  dead 

youth  of  the  year  ever  dying, 

or  full-breasted  empress  of  summer, 

Lady  of  the  Corybants 

and  the  headlong  routs 

that  maddened  with  cymbals  and  shouting 

the  hot  nights  of  amorous  languor 

when  the  gardens  swooned  under  the  scent 

of  jessamine  and  nard. 

You  were  the  slim-waisted  Lady  of  Doves, 


you  were  Ishtar  and  Ashtaroth, 

for  whom  the  Canaanite  girls 

gave  up  their  earrings  and  anklets  and  their  own 

slender  bodies, 
you  were  the  dolorous  Isis, 
and  Aphrodite. 

It  was  you  who  on  the  Syrian  shore 
mourned  the  brown  limbs  of  the  boy  Adonis. 
You  were  the  queen  of  the  crescent  moon, 
the  Lady  of  Ephesus, 
giver  of  riches, 
for  whom  the  great  temple 
reeked  with  burning  and  spices. 
And  now  in  the  late  bitter  years, 
your  head  is  bowed  with  bitterness ; 
across  your  knees  lies  the  lank  body 
of  the  Crucified. 

Rockets  shriek  and  roar  and  burst 
against  the  velvet  sky; 


the  wind  flutters  the  candle-flames 
above  the  long  white  slanting  candles. 

Swaying  above  the  upturned  faces 

to  the  strong  throb  of  drums, 

borne  in  triumph  on  the  necks  of  men, 

crowned,  robed  in  a  cone-shaped  robe 

of  vast  dark  folds  glittering  with  gold 

haltingly,  through  the  pulsing  streets, 

advances  Mary,  Virgin  of  Pain. 




TO  R.  J. 

It  would  be  fun,  you  said, 

sitting  two  years  ago  at  this  same  table, 

at  this  same  white  marble  cafe  table, 

if  people  only  knew  what  fun  it  would  be 

to  laugh  the  hatred  out  of  soldiers'  eyes  .  .  . 

— If  I  drink  beer  with  my  enemy, 
you  said,  and  put  your  lips  to  the  long  glass, 
and  give  him  what  he  wants,  if  he  wants  it  so  hard 
that  he  would  kill  me  for  it, 
I  rather  think  he'd  give  it  back  to  me — 
You   laughed,    and    stretched   your   long   legs    out 
across  the  floor. 

I  wonder  in  what  mood  you  died, 

out  there  in  that  great  muddy  butcher-shop, 

on  that  meaningless  dicing-table  of  death. 


Did  you  laugh  aloud  at  the  futility, 
and  drink  death  down  in  a  long  draught, 
as  you  drank  your  beer  two  years  ago 
at  this  same  white  marble  cafe  table? 
Or  had  the  darkness  drowned  you? 

Cafe  Oro  del  Rliin 
Plaza  de  Santa  Ana 



Down  the  road 

against  the  blue  haze 

that  hangs  before  the  great  ribbed  forms  of  the 


people  come  home  from  the  fields; 
they  pass  a  moment  in  relief 
against  the  amber  frieze  of  the  sunset 
before  turning  the  bend 
towards  the  twinkling  smoke-breathing  village. 

A  boy  in  sandals  with  brown  dusty  legs 

and  brown  cheeks  where  the  flush  of  evening 

has  left  its  stain  of  wine. 

A  donkey  with  a  jingling  bell 

and  ears  askew. 

Old  women  with  water  jars 

of  red  burnt  earth. 

Men  bent  double  under  burdens  of  faggots 

1126  V AGONES    DE    TERCERA 

that  trail  behind  them  the  fragrance 

of  scorched  uplands. 

A  child  tugging  at  the  end  of  a  string 

a  much  inflated  sow. 

A  slender  girl  who  presses  to  her  breast 

big  bluefrilled  cabbages. 

And  a  shepherd  in  the  clinging  rags  of  his  cloak 

who  walks  with  lithe  unhurried  stride 

behind  the  crowded  backs  of  his  flock. 

The  road  is  empty 

only  the  swaying  tufts  of  oliveboughs 

against  the  fading  sky. 

Down  on  the  steep  hillside 

a  man  still  follows  the  yoke 

of  lumbering  oxen 

plowing  the  heavy  crimson-stained  soil 

while  the  chill  silver  mists 

steal  up  about  him. 


I  stand  in  the  empty  road 

and  feel  in  my  arms  and  thighs 

the  strain  of  his  body 

as  he  leans  far  to  one  side 

and  wrenches  the  plow  from  the  furrow, 

feel  my  blood  throb   in   time  to  his   slow  careful 

as  he  follows  the  plow  in  the  furrow. 

Red  earth 
giver  of  all  things 
of  the  yellow  grain  and  the  oil 
and  the  wine  to  all  gods  sacred 

of  the  fragrant  sticks  that  crackle  in  the  hearth 
and  the  crisp  swaying  grass 
that  swells  to  dripping  the  udders  of  the  cows, 
of  the  jessamine  the  girls  stick  in  their  hair 
when  they  walk  in  twos  and  threes  in  the  moon 

and  of  the  pallid  autumnal  crocuses  .  .  . 
are  there  no  fields  yet  to  plow? 


Are  there  no  fields  yet  to  plow 

where  with  sweat  and  straining  of  muscles 

good  things  may  be  wrung  from  the  earth 

and   brown   limbs    going   home   tired   through    the 





O  such  a  night  for  scaling  garden  walls; 
to  push  the  rose  shoots  silently  aside 
and  pause  a  moment  where  the  water  falls 
into  the  fountain,  softly  troubling  the  wide 
bridge  of  stars  tremblingly  mirrored  there 
terror-pale  and  shaking  as  the  real  stars  shake 
in   crystal    fear   lest   the   rustle   of   silence   break 
with  a  watchdog's  barking. 

O  to  scale  the  garden  wall  and  fling 
my  life  into  the  bowl  of  an  adventure, 
stake  on  the  silver  dice  the  past  and  future 
forget  the  odds  and  lying  in  the  garden  sing 
in  time  to  the  flutter  of  the  waiting  stars 
madness  of  love  for  the  slender  ivory  white 
of  her  body  hidden  among  dark  silks  where 
is  languidest  the  attar  weighted  air. 


To  drink  in  one  strong  jessamine  scented  draught 
sadness  of  flesh,  twining  madness  of  the  night. 

O  such  a  night  for  scaling  garden  walls; 
yet  I  lie  alone  in  my  narrow  bed 
and  stare  at  the  blank  walls,  forever  afraid, 
of  a  watchdog's  barking. 




Rain-swelled  the  clouds  of  winter 
drag  themselves  like  purple  swine  across  the  plain. 
On  the  trees  the  leaves  hang  dripping 
fast  dripping  away  all  the  warm  glamour 
all    the    ceremonial    paint    of    gorgeous    bountiful 

The  black  wet  boles  are  vacant  and  dead. 

Among  the  trampled  leaves  already  mud 

rot  the  husks  of  the  rich  nuts.     On  the  hills 

the  snow  has  frozen  the  last  pale  crocuses 

and  the  winds  have  robbed  the  smell  of  the  thyme. 

Down  the  wet  streets  of  the  town 

from  doors  where  the  light  spills  out  orange 

over  the  shining  irregular  cobbles 

and  dances  in  ripples  on  gurgling  gutters; 

sounds  the  zambomba. 


In  the  room  beside  the  slanting  street 

round  the  tray  of  glowing  coals 

in  their  stained  blue  clothes,  dusty 

with  the  dust  of  workshops  and  factories, 

the  men  and  boys  sit  quiet; 

their  large  hands  dangle  idly 

or  rest  open  on  their  knees 

and  they  talk  in  soft  tired  voices. 

Crosslegged  in  a  corner  a  child  with  brown  hands 

sounds  the  zambomba. 

Outside  down  the  purple  street 

stopping  sometimes  at  a  door,  breathing  deep 

the   heady   wine  of   sunset,   stride   with   clattering 


those  to  whom  the  time  will  never  come 
of  work-stiffened  unrestless  hands. 

The  rain-swelled  clouds  of  winter  roam 
like  a  herd  of  swine  over  the  town  and  the  dark 


The  wineshops   full  of  shuffling  and  talk,  tanned 


bright  eyes,  moist  lips  moulding  desires 
blow  breaths  of  strong  wine  in  the  faces  of  passers- 


There  are  guards  in  the  storehouse  doors 

where  are  gathered  the  rich  fruits  of  autumn,  the 

the  sweet  figs   and   raisins;   sullen  blood   tingling 

to  madness 

they  stride  by  who  have  not  reaped. 
Sounds  the  zambomba. 



The  train  throbs  doggedly 

over  the  gleaming  rails 

fleeing  the  light-green  flanks  of  hills 

dappled  with  alternate  shadow  of  clouds, 

fleeing  the  white  froth  of  orchards, 

of  clusters  of  apples  and  cherries  in  flower, 

fleeing  the  wide  lush  meadows, 

wealthy  with  cowslips, 

and  the  tramping  horses  and  backward-strained 
bodies  of  plowmen, 

fleeing  the  gleam  of  the  sky  in  puddles  and  glit 
tering  waters 

the  train  throbs  doggedly 

over  the  ceaseless  rails 

spurning  the  verdant  grace 

of  April's  dainty  apparel; 


so  do  my  desires 

spurn  those  things  which  are  behind 

in  hunger  of  horizons. 

Rapido:  Valencia — Barcelona 



See  how  the   frail   white  pagodas  of  blossom 

stand  up  on  the  great  green  hills 

of  the  chestnuts 

and  how  the  sun  has  burned  the  wintry  murk 

and  all  the  stale  odor  of  anguish 

out  of  the  sky 

so  that  the  swollen  clouds  bellying  with  sail 

can  parade  in  pomp  like  white  galleons. 

And  they  move  the  slow  plumed  clouds 

above  the  spidery  grey  webs  of  cities 

above  fields  full  of  golden  chime 

of  cowslips 

above  warbling  woods  where  the  ditches 

are  wistfully  patined 

with  primroses  pale  as  the  new  moon 

above  hills  all  golden  with  gorse 

and  gardens  frothed 


140  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE 

to  the  brim  of  their  grey  stone  walls 
with  apple  bloom,  cherry  bloom, 
and  the  raspberry-stained  bloom  of  peaches   and 

So  do  the  plumed  clouds  sail 

swelling  with  satiny  pomp  of  parade 

towards  somewhere  far  away 

where  in  a  sparkling  silver  sea 

full  of  little  flakes  of  indigo 

the  great  salt  waves  have  heaved  and  stirred 

into  blossoming  of  foam, 

and  lifted  on  the  rush  of  the  warm  wind 

towards  the  gardens  and  the  spring-mad  cities  of 

the  shore 
Aphrodite   Aphrodite   is   reborn. 

And  even  in  this  city  park 

galled  with  iron  rails 

shrill  with  the  clanging  of  ironbound  wheels 

on  the  pavings  of  the  unquiet  streets, 

QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  141 

little  children  run  and  dance  and  sing 

with  spring-madness  in  the  sun, 

and  the  frail  white  pagodas  of  blossom 

stand  up  on  the  great  green  hills 

of  the  chestnuts 

and  all  their  tiers  of  tiny  gargoyle  faces 

stick  out  gold  and  red-striped  tongues 

in  derision  of  the  silly  things  of  men. 

Jasdin  du  Luxembourg 
A     • 

11-2  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE 


The   shadows   make   strange   streaks   and   mottled 


of  violet  on  the  apricot-tinged  walks 
where  the  thin  sunlight  lies 
like  flower-petals. 

On  the  cool  wind  there  is  a  fragrance 


of  strawberries  crushed  in  deep  woods. 

And  the  flushed  sunlight, 

the  wistful  patterns  of  shadow 

on  gravel  walks  between  tall  elms 

and  broad-leaved  lindens, 

the  stretch  of  country, 

yellow  and  green, 

full  of  little  particolored  houses, 

QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  143 

and  the  faint  intangible  sky, 

have  lumped  my  soggy  misery, 

like  clay  in  the  brown  deft  hands  of  a  potter, 

and  moulded  a  song  of  it. 

Saint  Germain-en-Laye 

144>  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE 


In  the  dark  the  river  spins, 
Laughs  and  ripples  never  ceasing, 
Swells  to  gurgle  under  arches, 
Swishes  past  the  bows  of  barges, 
in  its  haste  to  swirl  away 
From  the  stone  walls  of  the  city 
That  has  lamps  that  weight  the  eddies 
Down  with  snaky  silver  glitter, 
As  it  flies  it  calls  me  with  it 
Through  the  meadows  to  the  sea. 

I  close  the  door  on  it,  draw  the  bolts, 
Climb  the  stairs  to  my  silent  room; 
But  through  the  window  that  swings  open 
Comes  again  its  shuttle-song, 
Spinning  love  and  night  and  madness, 
Madness  of  the  spring  at  sea. 

QUA!    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  145 


The  streets  are  full  of  lilacs 

lilacs  in  boys'  buttonholes 

lilacs  at  women's  waists ; 

arms    full    of    lilacs,    people    trail    behind    them 

through  the  moist  night 
long  swirls  of  fragrance, 
fragrance  of  gardens 

fragrance  of  hedgerows  where  they  have  wandered 
all  the  May  day 

where  the  lovers  have  held  each  others  hands 
and  lavished  vermillion  kisses 
under  the  portent  of  the  swaying  plumes 
of  the  funereal  lilacs. 

The  streets  are  full  of  lilacs 

that  trail  long  swirls  and  eddies  of  fragrance 

arabesques  of  fragrance 

146  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE 

like  the  arabesques  that  form  and  fade 
in  the  fleeting  ripples  of  the  jade-green  river. 

Porte  Maillot 

QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  147 


As  a  gardener  in  a  pond 
splendid  with  lotus  and  Indian  nenuphar 
wades  to  his  waist  in  the  warm  black  water 
stooping  to  this  side  and  that  to  cull  the  snaky 


of  the  floating  white  glittering  lilies 
groping  to  break  the  harsh  stems  of  the  imperious 


lifting  the  huge  flowers  high 
in  a  cluster  in  his  hand 
till  they  droop  against  the  moon; 
so  I  grope  through  the  streets  of  the  night 
culling  out  of  the  pool 
of  the  spring-reeking,  rain-reeking  city 
gestures  and  faces. 

Place  St.  Michel 



'  TO  A.  K.  MC  C. 

This  is  a  garden 

where  through  the  russet  mist  of  clustered  trees 

and  strewn  November  leaves, 

they  crunch  with  vainglorious  heels 

of  ancient  vermillion 

the  dry  dead  of  spent  summer's  greens, 

and   stalk   with  mincing  sceptic  steps 

and  sound  of  snuffboxes  snapping 

to  the  capping  of  an  epigram, 

in  fluffy  attar-scented  wigs  .  .  . 

the  exquisite  Augustans. 


QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  149 


They  come  from  the  fields  flushed 
carrying  bunches  of  limp  flowers 
they  plucked  on  teeming  meadows 
and  moist  banks  scented  of  mushrooms. 

They  come  from  the  fields  tired 
softness  of  flowers  in  their  eyes 
and  moisture  of  rank  sprouting  meadows. 

They  stroll  back  with  tired  steps 
lips  still  soft  with  the  softness  of  petals 
voices  faint  with  the  whisper  of  woods; 
and  they  wander  through  the  darkling  streets 
full  of  stench  of  bodies  and  clothes  and  merchan 

full  of  the  hard  hum  of  iron  things ; 
and  into  their  cheeks  that  the  wind  had  burned 
and  the  sun 

150  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE 

that  kisses  burned  out  on  the  rustling  meadows 

into  their  cheeks  soft  with  lazy  caresses 

comes  sultry 

caged  breath  of  panthers 

fetid,  uneasy 

fury  of  love  sprouting  hot  in  the  dust  and  stench 

of  walls  and  clothes  and  merchandise, 

pent  in  the  stridence  of  the  twilight  streets. 

And  they  look  with  terror  in  each  other's  eyes 
and  part  their  hot  hands  stained  with  grasses  and 

and  are  afraid  of  their  kisses. 

QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  151 



The  mists  have  veiled  the  far  end  of  the  lake 
this  sullen  amber  afternoon ; 
our  island  is  quite  hidden,  and  the  peaks 
hang  wan  as  clouds  above  the  ruddy  haze. 

Come,  give  your  hand  that  lies  so  limp, 
a  tuberose  among  brown  oak-leaves; 
put  your  hand  in  mine  and  let  us  leave 
this  bank  where  we  have  lain  the  day  long. 

In  the  boat  the  naked  oarsman  stands. 
Let  us  walk  faster,  or  do  you  fear  to  tear 
that  brocaded  dress  in  apricot  and  grey? 
Love,  there  are  silk  cushions  in  the  stern 
maroon  and  apple-green, 
crocus-yellow,    crimson,   amber-grey. 

152  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE 

We  will  lie  and  listen  to  the  waves 

slap  soft  against  the  prow,  and  watch  the  boy 

slant  his  brown  body  to  the  long  oar-stroke. 

But,  love,  we  are  more  beautiful  than  he. 

We  have  forgotten  the  grey  sick  yearning  nights 

brushed  off  the  old  cobwebs  of  desire; 

we  stand  strong 

immortal  as  the  slender  brown  boy  who  waits 

to  row  our  boat  to  the  island. 

But  love  how  your  steps  drag. 

And  what  is  this  bundle  of  worn  brocades  I  press 
so  passionately  to  me?     Old  rags  of  the  past, 
snippings  of   Helen's  dress,  of  Melisande's, 
scarfs  of  old  paramours  rotted  in  the  grave 
ages  and  ages  since. 

No  lake 

the  ink  yawns  at  me  from  the  writing  table. 

QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  153 



Far  away  where  the  tall  grey  houses  fade 
A  lamp  blooms  dully  through  the  dusk, 
Through  the  effacing  dusk  that  gently  veils 
The  traceried  balconies  and  the  wreaths 
Carved  above  the  shuttered  windows 
Of  forgotten  houses. 

Behind  one  of  the  crumbled  garden  walls 
A  pale  woman  sits  in  drooping  black 
And  stares  with  uncomprehending  eyes 
At  the  thorny  angled  twigs  that  bore 
Years  ago  in  the  moon-spun  dusk 
One  scarlet  rose. 

In  an  old  high  room  where  the  shadows  troop 


On  tiptoe  across  the  creaking  boards 
A  shrivelled  man  covers  endless  sheets 

154  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLK 

Rounding  out  in  his  flourishing  hand 
Sentence  after  sentence  loud 
With  dead  kings'  names. 

Looking  out  at  the  vast  grey  violet  dusk 
A  pale  boy  sits  in  a  window,  a  book 
Wide  open  on  his  knees,  and  fears 
With  cold  choked  fear  the  thronging  lives 
That  lurk  in  the  shadows  and  fill  the  dusk 
With  menacing  steps. 

Far  away  the  gaslamp  glows  dull  gold 
A  vague  tulip  in  the  misty  night. 
The  clattering  drone  of  a  distant  tram 
Grows  loud  and  fades  with  a  hum  of  wires 
Leaving  the  street  breathless  with  silence,  chill 
And  the  listening  houses. 


QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  155 


0  douce  Sainte  Genevieve 
ramene  moi  a  la  mile,  Paris. 

In  the  smoke  of  morning  the  bridges 
are  dusted  with  orangy  sunshine. 

Bending  their  black  smokestacks  far  back 

muddling  themselves  in  their  spiralling  smoke 

the  tugboats  pass  under  the  bridges 

and  behind  them 


gliding  smooth  like  clouds 

the  barges  come 

black  barges 

with  blunt  prows  spurning  the  water  gently 

gently  rebuffing  the  opulent  wavelets 

of  opal  and  topaz  and  sapphire, 

barges  casually  come  from  far  towns 

towards   far  towns  unhurryingly  bound. 

156  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLK 

The  tugboats  shrieks  and  shrieks  again 
calling  beyond  the  next  bend  and  away. 
In  the  smoke  of  morning  the  bridges 
are  dusted  with  orangy  sunshine. 

0  douce  Sainte  Genevieve 
ramene  moi  a  ta  ville,  Paris. 

Big  hairy-hoofed  horses  are  drawing 

carts  loaded  with  flour-sacks, 

white  flour-sacks,  bluish 

in  the  ruddy  flush  of  the  morning  streets. 

On  one  cart  two  boys  perch 
wrestling  and  their  arms  and   faces 
glow  ruddy  against  the  white  flour-sacks 
as  the  sun  against  the  flour-white  sky. 

0  douce  Sainte  Genevieve 
ramene  moi  a  ta  ville,  Paris. 

Under  the  arcade 

loud  as  castanettes  with  steps 

QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  157 

of  little  women  hurrying  to  work 
an  old  hag  who  has  a  mole  on  her  chin 
that  is  tufted  with  long  white  hairs 
sells  incense-sticks,  and  the  trail  of  their  strange 
ness  lingers 

in  the  many-scented  streets 
among  the  smells  of  markets  and  peaches 
and  the  must  of  old  books  from  the  quays 
and  the  warmth  of  early-roasting  coffee. 

The  old  hag's  incense  has  smothered 
the  timid  scent  of  wild  strawberries 
and  triumphantly  mingled  with  the  strong  reek 

from  the  river 

of  green  slime  along  stonework  of  docks 
and  the  pitch-caulked  decks  of  barges, 
barges  casually  come  from  far  towns 
towards   far  towns  unhurryingly  bound. 

0  douce  Sainte  Genevieve 
ramene  moi  a  ia  mile,  Paris. 

158  QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE 



And  now  when  I  think  of  you 
I  see  you  on  your  piano-stool 
finger  the  ineffectual  bright  keys 
and  even  in  the  pinkish  parlor  glow 
your  eyes  sea-grey  are  very  wide 
as  if  they  carried  the  reflection 
of  mocking  black  pinebranches 
and  unclimbed  red-purple  mountains 

under  a  violet-gleaming  evening. 

But  chirruping  of  marriageable  girls 
voices   of  eager,  wise  virgins, 
no  lamp  unlit  every  wick  well  trimmed, 
fill  the  pinkish  parlor  chairs, 

QUAI    DE    LA    TOURNELLE  159 

bobbing  hats  and  shrill  tinkling  teacups 

in  circle  after  circle  about  you 

so  that  I  can  no  longer  see  your  eyes. 

Shall  I  tear  down  the  pinkish  curtains 
smash  the  imitation  ivory  keyboard 
that    you    may    pluck    with    bare    fingers    on    the 
strings  ? 

I  sit  cramped  in  my  chair. 

Futility  tumbles  everlastingly 

like  great  flabby  snowflakes  about  me. 

Were  they  in  your  eyes,  or  mine 
the  tattered  mists  about  the  mountains 
and  the  pitiless  grey  sea? 



Grey  riverbanks  in  the  dusk 
Melting  away  into  mist 
A  hard  breeze  sharp  off  the  sea 
The  ship's  screws'  lunge  and  throb 
And  the  voices  of  sailors  singing. 

O  I  have  come  wandering 
Out  of  the  dust  of  many  lands 
Ears  by  all  tongues  jangled 
Feet  worn  by  all  arduous  ways — 
O  the  voices  of  sailors  singing. 

What  nostalgia  of  sea 
And  free  new-scented  spaces 
dreams  of  towns  vermillion-gated 
Must  be  in  their  blood  as  in  mine 

That  the  sailors  long  so  in  singing. 


Churned  water  marbled  astern 
Grey  riverbanks  in  the  dusk 
Melting  away  into  mist 
And  a  shrill  wind  hard  off  the  sea. 
O  the  voices  of  sailors  singing. 



Padding  lunge  of  a  camel's  stride 

turning  the  sharp  purple  flints.     A  man  sings 

Breast  deep  in  the  dawn 
a  queen  of  the  east; 
the  woolen  folds  of  her  robe 
hang  white  and  straight 
as  the  hard  marble  columns 
of  the  temple  of  Jove. 

A  thousand  days 

the  pebbles  have  scuttled 

under  the  great  pads  of  my  camels. 

A  thousands  days 

like  bite  of  sour  apples 

have  been  bitter  with  desire  in  my  mouth. 

!66  ON     FOREIGN    TRAVEL 

A  thousand  days 

of  cramped  legs  flecked 

with  green  slobber  of  dromedaries. 

At  the  crest  of  the  road 

that   transfixes   the   sun 

she  awaits 

me  lean  with  desire 

with    muscles    tightened 

by  these  thousand  days 

pallid  with  dust 


naked  before  her. 

Padding  lunge  of  a  camel's  stride 
over  the  flint-strewn  hills.     A  man  sings; 
I  have  heard  men  sing  songs 
of  how  in  scarlet  pools 
in  the  west  in  purpurate  mist 
that  bursts   from  the  sun  trodden 


like  a  grape  under  the  feet  of  darkness 
a  woman  with  great  breasts 
thighs  white  like  wintry  mountains 
bathes  her  nakedness. 

I  have  lain  biting  my  cheeks 

many  nights  with  ears  murmurous 

with  the  songs  of  these  strange  men. 

My  arms   have  stung  as   if  burned 

by  the  touch  of  red  ants  with  anguish 

to  circle  strokingly 

her  bulging  smooth  body. 

My  blood  has  soured  to  gall. 

The  ten  toes  of  my  feet  are  hard 

as  buzzards'  claws  from  the  stones 

of  roads,  from  clambering 

cold  rockfaces  of  hills. 

For  uncountable  days'  journeys 

jouncing  on  the  humps  of  camels 

iron  horizons  have  swayed 


like  the  rail  of  a  ship  at  sea 
mountains  have  tossed  like  wine 
shaken  hard  in  a  wine  cup. 

I  have  heard  men  sing  songs 

of  the  scarlet  pools  of  the  sunset. 

Two  men,  bundled  pyramids  of  brown 
abreast,  bow  to  the  long  slouch 
of  their  slowstriding  camels. 
Shrilly  the  yellow  man  sings: 

In  the  courts  of  Han 

green  fowls  with  carmine  tails 

peck  at  the  yellow  grain 

court  ladies  scatter 

with  tiny  ivory  hands, 

the  tails  of  the  fowls 

droop  with  multiple  elegance 

over  the  wan  blue  stones 

as  the  hands  of  courtladies 


droop  on  the  goldstiffened  silk 

of  their  angular  flower-embroidered  dresses. 

In  the  courts  of  Han 

little  hairy  dogs 

are  taught  to  bark  twice 

at  the  mention  of  the  name  of  Confucius. 

The  twittering  of  the  women 

that  hop  like  silly  birds 

through  the  courts  of  Han 

became  sharp  like  little  pins 

in  my  ears,  their  hands  in  my  hands 

rigid  like  small  ivory  scoops 

to  scoop  up  mustard  with 

when   I   had  heard  the  songs 

of  the  western  pools  where  the  great  queen 

is  throned  on  a  purple  throne 

in  whose  vast  encompassing  arms 

all  bitter  twigs  of  desire 

burst  into  scarlet  bloom. 


Padding  lunge  of  the  camel's  stride 

over  flint-strewn  hills.     The  brown  man  sings: 

On  the  house-encumbered  hills 
of  great  marble  Rome 
no  man  has  ever  counted  the  columns 
no  man  has  ever  counted  the  statues 
no  man  has  ever  counted  the  laws 
sharply  inscribed   in  plain  writing 
on  tablets  of  green  bronze. 

At  brightly  lit  tables 
in  a  great  brick  basilica 
seven   hundred   literate   slaves 
copy  on  rolls  of  thin  parchment 
adorned  by  seals  and  purple  bows 
the  taut  philosophical  epigrams 
announced  by  the  emperor  each  morning 
while  taking  his  bath. 

A  day  of  rain  and  roaring  gutters 

the  wine-reeking  words  of  a  drunken  man 


who  clenched  about  me  hard-muscled  arms 
and  whispered  with  moist  lips  against  my  ear 
filled  me  with  smell  and  taste  of  spices 
with  harsh  panting  need  to  seek  out  the  great 
calm  implacable  queen  of  the  east 
who  erect  against  sunrise  holds  in  the  folds 
of  her  woolen  robe  all  knowledge  of  delight 
against  whose  hard  white  flesh  my  flesh 
will  sear  to  cinders  in  a  last  sheer  flame. 

Among  the  house-encumbered  hills 

of  great  marble  Rome 

I  could  no  longer  read  the  laws 

inscribed  on  tablets  of  green  bronze. 

The  maxims  of  the  emperor's  philosophy 

were  croaking  of  toads  in  my  ears. 

A  day  of  rain  and  roaring  gutters 

the  wine-reeking  words  of  a  drunken  man: 

.  .  .  breast  deep  in  the  dawn 

a  queen  of  the  east. 


The  camels  growl  and  stretch  out  their  necks, 

their    slack    lips    jiggle    as    they    trot 

towards    a    water    hole   in   a   pebbly   torrent   bed. 

The  riders  pile  dry  twigs  for  a  fire 
and  gird  up  their  long  gowns  to  warm 
at  the  flame  their  lean  galled  legs. 

Says  the  yellow  man: 

You  have  seen  her  in  the  west? 

Says  the  brown  man: 

Hills   and   valleys 

stony    roads. 

In  the  towns 

the  bright  eyes  of  women 

looking  out   from  lattices. 

Camps   in   the  desert 

where  men  passed  the  time  of  day 

where  were   embers   of   fires 


and  greenish  piles  of  camel-dung. 
You  have  seen  her  in  the  east? 
Says  the  yellow  man: 

Only  red  mountains  and  bare  plains, 
the  blue  smoke  of  villages  at  evening, 
brown  girls  bathing 
along  banks  of  streams. 

I  have  slept  with  no  woman 
only    my    dream. 

Says  the  brown  man: 

I  have  looked  in  no  woman's  eyes 
only  stared  along  eastward  roads. 

They  eat  out  of  copper  bowls  beside  the  fire  in 

They  loose  the  hobbles   from  the  knees  of  their 



and  shout  as  they  jerk  to  their  feet 
The  yellow  man  rides  west. 
The  brown  man  rides  east. 

Their   songs   trail   among  the   split  rocks   of  the 

Sings  the  yellow  man: 

I  have  heard  men  sing  songs 

of  how  in  the  scarlet  pools 

that  spurt  from  the  sun  trodden 

like  a  grape  under  the  feet  of  darkness 

a  woman  with  great  breasts 

bathes   her   nakedness. 

Sings  the  brown  man: 

After  a  thousand  days 

of   cramped   legs    flecked 

with  green   slobber   of   dromedaries 

she   awaits 


me  lean  with  desire 

pallid  with  dust 


naked  before  her. 

Their  songs  fade  in  the  empty  desert. 



There  was  a  king  in  China. 

He  sat  in  a  garden  under  a  moon  of  gold 

while  a  black  slave  scratched  his  back 

with  a  back-scratcher  of  emerald. 

Beyond  the  tulip  bed 

where  the  tulips  were  stiff  goblets  of  fiery  wine 

stood  the  poets  in  a  row. 

One  sang  the  intricate  patterns  of  snowflakes 
One  sang  the  henna-tipped  breasts  of  girls  dancing 
and  of  yellow  limbs  rubbed  with  attar. 
One  sang  red  bows  of  Tartar  horsemen 
and  whine  of  arrows  and  blood-clots  on  new  spear- 

The  others   sang  of  wine  and   dragons   coiled   in 
purple  bowls, 


and  one,  in  a  droning  voice 
recited  the  maxims  of  Lao  Tse. 

(Far  off  at  the  walls  of  the  city 

groaning  of  drums  and  a  clank  of  massed  spearmen. 

Gongs  in  the  temples.) 

The  king  sat  under  a  moon  of  gold 
while  a  black  slave  scratched  his  back 
with  a  back-scratcher  of  emerald. 
.The  long  gold  nails  of  his  left  hand 
twined  about  a  red  tulip  blotched  with  black, 
a  tulip  shaped  like  a  dragon's  mouth 
or  the  flames  bellying  about  a  pagoda  of  sandal- 

The  long  gold  nails  of  his  right  hand 
were  held  together  at  the  tips 
in  an  attitude  of  discernment: 
to  award  the  tulip  to  the  poet 
of  the  poets  that  stood  in  a  row. 


(Gongs  in  the  temples. 

Men   with   hairy   arms 

climbing  on  the  walls  of  the  city. 

They  have  red  bows  slung  on  their  backs; 

their  hands  grip  new  spearshafts.) 

The  guard  of  the  tomb  of  the  king's  great  grand 

stood  with  two  swords  under  the  moon  of  gold. 
With  one  sword  he  very  carefully 
slit  the  base  of  his  large  belly 
and  inserted  the  other  and  fell  upon  it 
and  sprawled  beside  the  king's   footstool. 
His  blood  sprinkled  the  tulips 
and  the  poets  in  a  row. 

(The  gongs  are  quiet  in  the  temples. 
Men  with  hairy  arms 

scattering  with  taut  bows  through  the  city; 
there  is  blood  on  new  spearshafts.) 

ON     FOREIGN    TRAVEL  179 

The  long  gold  nails  of  the  king's  right  hand 

were  held  together  at  the  tips 

in  an  attitude  of  discernment. 

The  geometrical  glitter  of  snowflakes, 

the  pointed  breasts  of  yellow  girls 

crimson   with   henna, 

the  swirl  of  river-eddies  about  a  barge 

where   men   sit  drinking, 

the  eternal  dragon  of  magnificence.  .  .  . 

Beyond  the  tulip  bed 

stood  the  poets  in  a  row. 

The  garden  full  of  spearshafts  and  shouting 

and   the   whine   of   arrows   and   the   red   bows   of 


and  trampling  of  the  sharp  hoofs  of  war-horses. 
Under  the  golden  moon 
the  men  with  hairy  arms 

struck  off  the  heads  of  the  tulips  in  the  tulip-bed 
and  of  the  poets  in  a  row. 


The   king  lifted  the   hand   that  held  the   flaming 

Him  of  the  snowflakes,  he  said. 
On  a  new  white  spearshaft 
the  men  with  hairy  arms 
spitted  the  king  and  the  black  slave 
who  scratched  his  back  with   a  back-scratcher  of 

There  was  a  king  in  China. 



Says  the  man  from  Weehawken  to  the  man  from 

Sioux  City 

as  they  jolt  cheek  by  jowl  on  the  bus  up  Broadway: 
— That's    her   name,    Olive    Thomas,    on   the    red 


died  of  coke  or  somethin' 
way  over  there  in  Paris. 
Too  much  money.     Awful 
immoral  the  lives  them  film  stars  lead. 

The  eye  of  the  man  from  Sioux  City  glints 
in  the  eye  of  the  man  from  Weehawken. 
Awful  .  .  .  lives  out  of  sky-signs  and  lust; 
curtains  of  pink  silk  fluffy  troubling  the  skin 
rooms  all  prinkly  with  chandeliers, 
bed  cream-color  with  pink  silk  tassles 
creased  by  the  slender  press  of  thighs. 
Her  eyebrows   are  black 


her  lips   rubbed   scarlet 

breasts  firm  as  peaches 

gold  curls  gold  against  her  cheeks. 

She  dead 

all  of  her  dead  way  over  there  in  Paris. 

O  golden  Aphrodite. 

The  eye  of  the  man  from  Weehawken  slants 
away  from  the  eye  of  the  man  from  Sioux  City. 
They  stare  at  the  unquiet  gold  dripping  sky-signs. 



Again  they  are  plowing  the  field  by  the  river; 

in  the  air  exultant  a  smell  of  wild  garlic 

crushed  out  by  the  shining  steel  in  the  furrow 

that  opens  softly  behind  the  heavy-paced  horses, 

dark  moist  noisy  with  fluttering  of  sparrows; 

and  their  chirping  and  the  clink  of  the  harness 

chimes  like  bells; 

and  the  plowman  walks  at  one  side 

with  sliding  steps,  his  body  thrown  back  from  the 


O  the  sudden  sideways  lift  of  his  back  and  his  arms 
as  he  swings  the  plow  from  the  furrow. 

And  behind  the  river  sheening  blue 

and  the  white  beach  and  the  sails  of  schooners, 

and  hoarsely  laughing  the  black  crows 

wheel  and  glint.     Ha!  Haha! 

186  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

Other  springs  you  answered  their  laughing 
and  shouted  at  them  across  the  fallow  lands 
that  smelt  of  wild  garlic  and  pinewoods  and  earth. 

This   year   the   crows    flap   cawing   overhead    Ha! 


and  the  plow-harness  clinks 
and  the  pines  echo  the  moaning  shore. 

No  one  laughs  back  at  the  laughing  crows. 
No  one  shouts  from  the  edge  of  the  new-plowed 

Sandy  Point 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  187 


The  full  moon  soars  above  the  misty  street 
filling  the  air  with  a  shimmer  of  silver. 
Roofs  and  chimney-pots  cut  silhouettes 
of  dark  against  the  milk-washed  sky ! 
O  moon  fast  waning! 
Seems  only  a  night  ago  you  hung 
a  shallow  cup  of  topaz-colored  glass 
that  tilted  towards  my  feverish  dry  lips 
brimful  of  promise  in  the  flaming  west: 

0  moon  fast  waning! 

And  each  night  fuller  and  colder,  moon, 
the  silver  has  welled  up  within  you;  still  I 

1  have  not  drunk,  only  the  salt  tide 

of  parching  desires  has  welled  up  within  me: 
only  you  have  attained,  waning  moon. 

The  moon  soars  white  above  the  stony  street, 
wan  with  fulfilment.     O  will  the  tide 

188  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

of  yearning  ebb  with  the  moon's  ebb 
leaving  me  cool  darkness  and  peace 
with  the  moon's  waning? 


PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  189 


The    shrill    wind    scatters    the    bloom 

of  the  almond  trees 

but  under  the  bark  of  the  shivering  poplars 

the  sap  rises 

and  on  the  dark  twigs  of  the  planes 

buds  swell. 

Out  in  the  country 

along  soggy  banks  of  ditches 

among  busy  sprouting  grass 

there  are  dandelions. 

Under  the  asphalt 

under  the  clamorous  paving-stones 

the  earth  heaves  and  stirs 

and  all  the  blind  live   things 

expand   and  writhe. 

Only  the  dead 

lie  still  in  their  graves, 

190  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

stiff,   heiratic, 

only  the  changeless  dead 

lie  without  stirring. 

Spring  is  not  a  good  time 
for  the  dead. 

Battery  Park 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  191 


Buildings  shoot  rigid  perpendiculars 
latticed  with  window-gaps 
into  the  slate  sky. 

Where  the  wind  comes  from 

the  ice  crumbles 

about  the  edges  of  green  pools; 

from  the  leaping  of  white  thighs 

comes  a  smooth  and  fleshly  sound, 

girls  grip  hands  and  dance 

grey  moss  grows  green  under  the  beat 

of  feet  of  saffron 


Where  the  wind  comes  from 
purple  windflowers  sway 
on  the  swelling  verges  of  pools, 
naked  girls  grab  hands  and  whirl 

192  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

fling  heads  back 
stamp  crimson  feet. 

Buildings   shoot  rigid   perpendiculars 
latticed  with   window-gaps 
into  the  slate  sky. 

Garment-workers  loaf  in  their  overcoats 
(stare  at  the  gay  breasts  of  pigeons 
that  strut  and  peck  in  the  gutters). 
Their  fingers  are  bruised  tugging  needles 
through  fuzzy  hot  layers  of  cloth, 
thumbs  roughened  twirling  waxed  thread; 
they  smell  of  lunchrooms  and  burnt  cloth. 
The  wind  goes  among  them 
detaching  sweat-smells  from  underclothes 
making  muscles  itch  under  overcoats 
tweaking  legs  with  inklings  of  dancetime. 

Bums  on  park-benches 
spit  and  look  up  at  the  sky. 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  193 

Garment-workers   in  their  overcoats 
pile  back  into  black  gaps  of  doors. 

Where  the  wind  comes  from 
scarlet  windflowers  sway 
on  rippling  verges  of  pools, 
sound  of  girls  dancing 
thud   of  vermillion   feet. 

Madison  Square 

194  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 


The   stars   bend   down 

through  the  dingy  platitude  of  arc-lights 

as  if  they  were  groping  for  something  among  the 


as  if  they  would  touch  the  gritty  pavement 
covered  with  dust  and  scraps  of  paper  and  piles  of 

of  the  wide  deserted  square. 

They  are  all  about  me; 

they   sear  my  body. 

How  very  cold  the  stars  are  touching  my  body. 

What  do  they  seek 

the    fierce    ice-flames    of    the    stars 

in  the  platitude  of  arc-lights? 

Plaza  Mayor,  Madrid 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  195 


Not  willingly  have  I  wronged  you  O  Eros, 
it  is  the  bitter  blood  of  joyless  generations 
making  my  fingers  loosen  suddenly 
about  the  full  glass  of  purple  wine 
for  which  my  dry  lips  ache, 

making  me  turn  aside  from  the  wide  arms  of  lovers 
that  would  have  slaked  the  rage  of  my  body 
for  supple  arms  and  burning  young  flushed  faces 
to  wander  in  solitary  streets. 

A  funeral  clatters  over  the  glimmering  cobbles; 

they  are  burying  despair! 

Lank  horses  whose  raw  bones  show  through 

the  embroidered  black  caparisons 

and   whose   heads   jerk    feebly 

under  the  tall  nodding  crests; 

they  are  burying  despair. 

A  great  hearse  that  trundles  crazily  along 

196  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

under  pompous  swaying  plumes 

and   intricate   designs   of   mud-splashed   heraldry; 

they  are  burying  despair ! 

A  coffin  obliterated  under  the  huge  folds 

of  a  faded  velvet  pall 

and  following  clattering  over  the  cobblestones 

lurching  through  mud-puddles 

a  long  train  of  cabs 

rain-soaked  barouches 

old  landaus  off  which  the  paint  has  peeled 

leprous    coupes; 

in  their  blank  windows  shines  the  glint 

of  interminable  gaslamps; 

they  are  burying  despair! 

Joyously  I  turn  into  the  wineshop 
where  with  strumming  of  tambourines 
and  staccato  cackle  of  castanets 
they  are  welcoming  the  new  year, 
and  T  look  in  the  eves  of  the  woman; 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  197 

(are  they  your  wide  eyes  O  Eros?) 

who  sits  with  wine-dabbled  lips 

and  stained  tinsel  dress  torn  open 

by  the  brown  hands  of  strong  young  lovers; 

(were  they  your  brown  hands  O  Eros?). 

— Your  flesh  is  hot  to  my  cold  hands 

hot  to  thaw  the  ice  of  an  old  curse 

now   that   with   pomp    of   plumes   and   strings   of 

ceremonial  cabs 
they   are   burying   despair. 

She  laughs  and  points  with  a  skinny  forefinger 

at  the  flabby  yellow  breasts  that  hang 

over  the  tarnished  tinsel  of  her  dress, 

and  shows  me  her  brown  wolf's  teeth; 

and  tKe  blood  in  my  temples  goes  suddenly  cold 

with  bitterness  and  I  know 

it  was  not  despair  that  they  buried. 

New  Year's  Day — Casa  de  Bottin 

198  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 


The  leaves  are  full  grown  now 
and  the  lindens  are  in  flower. 
Horseshoes   leave   their  mark 
on  the  sun-softened  asphalt. 
Men  unloading  vegetable  carts 
along  the  steaming  market  curb 
bare  broad  chests  pink  from  sweating; 
their  wet  shirts  open  to  the  last  button 
cling  to  their  ribs  and  shoulders. 

The  leaves  are  full  grown  now 
and  the  lindens  are  in  flower. 

At  night  along  the  riverside 

glinting  watery  lights 

sway  upon  the  lapping  waves 

like  many-colored  candles  that  flicker  in  the  wind. 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  199 

The  warm  wind  smells  of  pitch  from  the  moored 


smells  of  the  broad  leaves  of  the  trees 
wilted  from  the  day's  long  heat; 
smells  of  gas  from  the  last  taxicab. 

Sounds  of  the  riverwater  rustling 

circumspectly  past  the  piers 

of  bridges  that  span  the  glitter  with  dark 

of  men  and  women's  voices 

many  voices  mouth  to  mouth 

smoothness  of  flesh  touching  flesh, 

a  harsh  short  sigh  blurred  into  a  kiss. 

The  leaves  are  full  grown  now 
and  the  lindens  are  in  flower. 

Quai  Malaquais 

200  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 


In  me  somewhere  is  a  grey  room 
my   fathers  worked  through  many  lives  to  build; 
through    the    barred    distorting   windowpanes 
I  see  the  new  moon  in  the  sky. 

When  I  was  small  I  sat  and  drew 

endless  pictures  in  all  colors  on  the  walls; 

tomorrow  the  pictures  should  take  life 

I   would  stalk  down  their  long  heroic  colonnades. 

When  I  was  fifteen  a  red-haired  girl 
went  by  the  window;  a  red  sunset 
threw  her  shadow  on  the  stiff  grey  wall 
to  burn  the  colors  of  my  pictures  dead. 

Through   all  these  years   the   walls   have   writhed 
with  shadow  overlaid  upon  shadow. 
I  have  bruised  my  fingers  on  the  windowbars 
so  many  lives  cemented  and  made  strong. 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  201 

While  the  bars   stand   strong,,   outside 

the  great  processions  of  men's  lives  go  past. 

Their  shadows  squirm  distorted  on  my  wall. 

Tonight  the  new  moon  is  in  the  sky. 

Stuyvesant  Square 

202  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 


Three  kites  against  the  sunset 
flaunt  their  long-tailed  triangles 
above  the  inquisitive  chimney-pots. 

A  pompous  ragged  minstrel 
sings  beside  our  dining-table 
a  very  old  romantic  song: 

I  love  the  sound  of  the  hunting-horns 
deep  in  the  woods  at  night. 

A  wind  makes  dance  the  fine  acacia  leaves 

and  flutters  the  cloths  of  the  tables. 

The  kites  tremble  and  soar. 

The  voice  throbs  sugared  into  croaking  base 

broken  with  the  burden  of  the  too  ancient  songs. 

' — 
And  yet,  beyond  the  flaring  sky, 

beyond  the  soaring  kites, 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  203 

where  are  no  voices  of  singers, 

no  strummings   of  guitars, 

the   untarnished   songs 

hang  like  great  moths  just  broken 

through  the  dun  threads  of  their  cocoons, 

moist,   motionless,   limp 

as   flowers  on  the  inaccessible  twigs 

of  the  yewtree,  Ygdrasil, 

the  untarnished  songs. 

Will  you  put  your  hand  in  mine 

pompous  street-singer, 

and  start  on  a  quest  with  me? 

For    men    have    cut    down    the   woods    where   the 

laurel  grew 

to  build  streets  of  frame  houses, 
they  have  dug  in  the  hills  after  iron 
and  frightened  the  troll-king  away; 
at   night   in   the   woods   no   hunter   puffs   out   his 

to  call  to  the  kill  on  the  hunting-horn. 

204-  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

Now  when  the  kites  flaunt  bravely 

their  tissue-paper  glory  in  the  sunset 

we  will  walk  together  down  the  darkening  streets 

beyond  these  tables  and  the  sunset. 

We  will  hear  the  singing  of  drunken  men 

and  the   songs   whores   sing 

in  their  doorways  at  night 

and   the  endless    soft  crooning 

of    all    the    mothers, 

and  what  words  the  young  men  hum 

when  they  walk  beside  the  river 

their  arms  hot  with  caresses, 

their   cheeks   pressed   against   their   girls'   cheeks. 

We  will  lean  very  close 

to  the  quiet  lips  of  the  dead 

and  feel  in  our  worn-out  flesh  perhaps 

a  flutter  of  wings  as  they  soar  from  us 

the  untarnished   songs. 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  205 

But  the  minstrel  sings  as  the  pennies  clink: 
I  love  the  sound  of  the  hunting-horns 
deep  in  the  woods  at  night. 

O  who  will  go  on  a  quest  with  me 
beyond  all  wide  seas 
all  mountain  passes 
and  clirrfb  at  last  with  me 
among  the  imperishable  branches 
of  the  yewtree,  Ygdrasil, 
so  that  all  the  limp  unuttered  songs 
shall  spread  their  great  moth-wings  and  soar 
above  the  craning  necks  of  the  chimneys 
above  the  tissue-paper  kites  and  the  sunset 
above  the  diners  and  their  dining-tables, 
beat  upward  with  strong  wing-beats  steadily 
till  they  can  drink  the  quenchless   honey  of  the 

Place  du  Tertre 

206  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

Dark  on  the  blue  light  of  the  stream 
the  barges  lie  anchored  under  the  moon. 

On   icegreen   seas   of   sunset 

the  moon  skims  like  a  curved  white  sail 

bellied  by  the  evening  wind 

and  bound  for  some  glittering  harbor 

that  blue  hills  circle 

among  the  purple  archipelagos  of  cloud. 

So,  in  the  quivering  bubble  of  my  memories 

the  schooners  with  peaked  sails 

lean  athwart  the  low  dark  shore; 

their    sails    glow    apricot-color 

or  glint  as  white  as  the  salt-bitten  shells  on  the 


and  are  curved  at  the  tip  like  gulls'  wings: 
their  courses  are  set  for  impossible  oceans 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  207 

where  on  the  gold  imaginary  sands 

they  will  unload  their  many-scented  freight 

of  very  childish  dreams. 

Dark  on  the  blue  light  of  the  stream 

the  barges  lie  anchored  under  the  moon; 

the  wind  brings  from  them  to  my  ears 

faint  creaking  of  rudder-cords,  tiny  slappings 

of  waves  against  their  pitch-smeared  flanks, 

to  my  nose  a  smell  of  bales  and  merchandise 

the  wet  familiar  smell  of  harbors 

and  the  old  arousing  fragrance 

making  the  muscles  ache  and  the  blood  seethe 

and  the  eyes   see  the  roadsteads   and  the  golden 


where  with  singing  they  would  furl  the  sails 
of  the  schooners  of  childish  dreams. 

On  icegreen  seas  of  sunset 

the  moon  skims  like  a  curved  white  sail: 

had  I  forgotten  the  fragrance  of  old  dreams 

208  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

that  the  smell  from  the  anchored  barges 
can  so   fill  my  blood   with  bitterness 
that  the  sight  of  the  scudding  moon 
makes  my  eyes  tingle  with  salt  tears? 

In  the  ship's  track  on  the  infertile  sea 
now  many  childish  bodies  float 
rotting  under  the  white  moon. 

Quai  des  Grands  Augustins 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  209 


Lua  chela  esta  noit 

Thistledown    clouds 

cover  the   whole   sky 

scurry  on  the  southwest  wind 

over  the  sea  and  islands; 

somehow  in   the   sundown 

the  wind  has  shaken  out  plumed  seed 

of    thistles    milkweed    asphodel, 

raked  from  off  great  fields  of  dandelions 

their  ghosts  of  faded  golden  springs 

and  carried  them  in  billowing  of  mist 

to  scurry   in  moonlight 

out  of  the  west. 

They  hide  the  moon 

the  whole  sky  is  grey  with  them 

and  the  waves. 

210  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

They  will  fall  in  rain 
over  country  gardens 
where  thrushes  sing. 

They  will  fall  in  rain 

down  long  sparsely  lighted  streets 

hiss  on  silvery  windowpanes 

moisten  the  lips 

of  girls  leaning  out 

to  stare  after  the  footfalls  of  young  men 

who  splash  through  the  glimmering  puddles 

with  nonchalant  feet. 

They  will  slap  against  the  windows  of  offices 

where  men  in  black  suits 

shaped  like  pears 

rub  their  abdomens 

against  frazzled  edges  of  ledgers. 

They  will  drizzle 
over  new-plowed  fields 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  211 

wet  the  red  cheeks  of  men  harrowing 

and  a  smell  of  garlic  and  clay 

will  steam  from  the  new-sowed  land 

and  sharp-eared  young  herdsmen  will  feel 

in  the  windy  rain 

lisp  of  tremulous  love-makings 

interlaced  soundless  kisses 

impact  of  dead  springs 

nuzzling  tremulous  at  life 

in  the  red  sundown. 

Shining  spring  rain 

O  scud  steaming  up  out  of  the  deep  sea 

full  of  portents  of  sundown  and  islands, 

beat  upon  my  forehead 

beat  upon  my  face  and  neck 

glisten  on  my  outstretched  hands, 

run  bright  lilac  streams 

through  the  clogged  channels  of  my  brain 

corrode  the  clicking  cogs  the  little  angles 

212  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

the   small   mistrustful  mirrors 

scatter  the  shrill  tiny  creaking 

of  mustnot  darenot  cannot 

spatter  the  varnish  off  me 

that  I  may  stand  up 

my  face  to  the  wet  wind 

and  feel  my  body 

and  drenched  salty  palpitant  April 

reborn  in  my  flesh. 

I   would  spit  the  dust  out  of  my  mouth 

burst  out  of  these  stiff  wire  webs 

supple   incautious 

like  the  crocuses  that  spurt  up  too  soon 

their  saffron  flames 

and  die  gloriously  in  late  blizzards 

and  leave  no  seed. 

Off  Pico 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  213 


Out  of  the  unquiet  town 

seep  jagged  barkings 

lean    broken    cries 

unimaginable  silent  writhing 

of  muscles  taut  against  strangling 

heavy  fetters  of  darkness. 

On  the  pool  of  moonlight 

clots   and  festers 

a  great  scum 

of  worn-out  sound. 

(Elagabalus,  Alexander 
looked  too  long  at  the  full  moon; 
hot  blood  drowned  them 
cold  rivers  drowned  them.) 

214-  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

Float  like  pondflowers 

on  the  dead  face  of  darkness 

cold  stubs  of  lusts 

names  that  glimmer  ghostly 

adrift  on  the  slow  tide 

of  old  moons  waned. 

(Lais  of  Corinth  that  Holbein  drew 

drank  the  moon  in  a  cup  of  wine ; 

with  the  flame  of  all  her  lovers'  pain 

she  seared  a  sign  on  the  tombs  of  the  years.) 

Out  of  the  voiceless  wrestle  of  the  night 

flesh  rasping  harsh  on  flesh 

a  tune  on  a  shrill  pipe  shimmers 

up  like  a  rocket  blurred  in  the  fog 

of  lives  curdled  in  the  moon's  glare, 

staggering   up    like   a    rocket 

into  the  steely  star-sharpened  night 

above  the  stagnant  moon-marshes 

the  song  throbs  soaring  and  dies. 

PHASES    OF    THE    MOON  215 

(Semiramis,   Zenobia 
lay  too  long  in  the  moon's  glare; 
their  yearning  grew  sere  and  they  died 
and  the  flesh  of  their  empires  died.) 

On  the  pool  of  moonlight 

clots  and  festers 

a  great  scum 

of  worn-out  lives. 

No  sound  but  the  panting  unsatiated 

breath  that  heaves   under  the  huge  pall 

the  livid  moon  has  spread  above  the  housetops. 

I  rest  my  chin  on  the  window-ledge 

and  wait. 

There  are  hands  about  my  throat. 

Ah  Bilkis,  Bilkis 

where  the  jangle  of  your  camel  bells? 

Bilkis  when  out  of  Saba 

lope  of  your  sharp-smelling  dromedaries 

216  PHASES    OF    THE    MOON 

will  bring  the  unnameable  strong  wine 
you  press  from  the  dazzle  of  the  zenith 
over  the  shining  sand  of  your  desert 
the  wine  you  press  there  in  Saba? 
Bilkis  your  voice  loud  above  the  camel  bells 
white  sword  of  dawn  to  split  the  fog, 
Bilkis  your  small  strong  hands  to  tear 
the  hands  from  about  my  throat. 
Ah  Bilkis  when  out  of  Saba? 

Pe.'a  Palace 


14  DAY  USE 



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Renewed  books  are  subject  to  immediate  recall. 




MAR  2  5  1982  AUG  o  5  >99o 


1  21-lOOm 

AUG  061991 



General  Library 

University  of  California